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Quadruple Rainbow PHOTO: Phenomenon Captured On Camera For The First Time (POLL)

The Huffington Post    
First Posted: 10/06/11 07:58 PM ET Updated: 12/06/11 05:12 AM ET

Behold, the world's first quadruple rainbow.

Don't see it? No worries, you're not alone.

That's because the bands you can see are actually the third and fourth levels of the rainbow, with the first two in front of the sun. According to io9, the photographer, Michael Theusner of Germany, is actually standing in front of the first two rainbows.

You can see Theusner's photo for yourself, below, and you can check out more of his photography on his website.

According to New Scientist, rainbows are formed by light reflected from rain droplets. Double rainbows are produced when light reflects inside a droplet twice, triple when it reflects three times, and quadruple when it reflects four times.

The number of reflections degrades the prominence of the rainbow.

From New Scientist:

By contrast, three reflections inside the drop produces the tertiary rainbow, which are much fainter and so rarely seen - and because those reflections take the light most of the way around the drop, it appears on the same side of the sky as the sun (this also makes it even harder to see).

Four reflections produce the fourth-order rainbow, close to - but even fainter than - the tertiary rainbow. Because this photo is taken into the sun, it must be a third and fourth order rainbow - as Theusner reports [in the latest issue of Applied Optics].

Third-order rainbows are so difficult to see (let alone fourth-order), that in 250 years only five have ever been scientifically reported, according to LiveScience.

If you still don't believe this is a quadruple rainbow, then you can read Theusner's paper in Applied Optics here, which states that this is the first recorded evidence of a quadruple rainbow.

If this all doesn't blow your mind, check out some moonbows to be stunned for sure.

The Quadruple Rainbow:

Quick Poll

Do you think this is actually a quadruple rainbow?

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