Phenomena

Supernumerary Bows

After the rain of Hurricane Florence came the rainbow, or rainbows, in this case. Photographer John Entwistle captured this image of a rainbow with several additional supernumerary bows. The inner fringes seen here form when light passes through water droplets that are all close to the same size; given the spread seen here, the droplets are likely smaller than a millimeter in diameter. Supernumerary rainbows cannot be explained with a purely geometric theory of optics; instead, they require acknowledging the wave nature of light. (Image credit: J. Entwistle; via APOD; submitted by Kam-Yung Soh)

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