The first likely photographic observation of the tertiary rainbow caused by sunlight in the open air is reported and analyzed. Whereas primary and secondary rainbows are rather common and easily seen phenomena in atmospheric optics, the tertiary rainbow appears in the sunward side of the sky and is thus largely masked by forward scattered light. Up to now, only a few visual reports and no reliable photographs of the tertiary rainbow are known. Evidence of a third-order rainbow has been obtained by using image processing techniques on a digital photograph that contains no obvious indication of such a rainbow. To rule out any misinterpretation of artifacts, we carefully calibrated the image in order to compare the observed bow’s angular position and dispersion with those predicted by theory.
© 2011 Optical Society of AmericaFull Article | PDF Article
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