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What is a double rainbow?

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Quick Answer

A double rainbow occurs when light is reflected twice off the back of a raindrop. The colors of the second rainbow appear as an inverse pattern of the first. The second rainbow looks cloudier because more light is released, and the two rainbows cover a greater portion of the sky.

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What is a double rainbow?
Credit: Bernt Rostad CC-BY-2.0

Full Answer

In addition to double rainbows, other types of multiple rainbows can be observed. On rare occasions, three or four rainbows may be formed. Early mornings or late afternoons are the best times for viewing a rainbow. During these times, the sun is lower in the sky while the bow is higher.

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