The Phenomenon Behind the Stunning 'White Rainbow'
It's one of those moments when nature simply takes your breath away: a lonely landscape nicely framed under a semi-circular halo, only this time there's absolutely no colour, unlike most rainbows.
The phenomenon is called a fog bow, and it occurs when sunlight passes through water droplets, exactly like a typical rainbow. However, because fog droplets are smaller than raindrops, they lose a lot of colors.
"The Sun's light is still refracted by the water particles, but to a much lesser extent due to the water droplets being so small," Sean Batty, a weather broadcaster for STV, explains.
"There will be some colours within a fog bow, although they will be so weak that our eyes don't pick it up."
The shape of a fog bow is generated by droplets that are at the correct angle to divert sunlight back into your eyes, according to NASA.
Water droplets operate like small prisms, producing all of the rainbow's colors, while fog droplets, which can be hundreds of times smaller, process light differently. The biggest difference is caused by fog, which scatters light more than it reflects, leaving just the brightest areas of the pattern visible: the white fog bow.
Fog bows have a considerably wider form than rainbows due to the same process, albeit they're usually not as huge overall. A fog bank that is moderately diffused and thin is required for the perfect fog bow, as this permits light to penetrate through the droplets in the first place.
The color saturation of glory is midway between a rainbow and a fog bow, and it is generated by sunshine and droplets in mist or clouds. If you're flying, keep an eye out for a cloud bow, which is formed in the same way as a fog bow but seen from above.
The moonbow, on the other hand, is a rainbow that is illuminated by the Moon rather than the Sun. Moonbows are much fainter and often appear white, just like the fog bow, because the water droplets are the same size as in a rainbow but the light source isn't as bright.
And just this week a rare circular rainbow was also caught on camera in the UK, with the right conditions making for a stunning bow fully extending through 360 degrees.
All of these bows can take the breath away, and if you're lucky enough to see them, at the time you'll probably be more struck by the surreal nature of the moment than the actual science behind it:
"It's an amazing thing to witness," The fog bow Nicholson photographed, he told the BBC."It was just beyond magical and one of those days that you'll remember for a long time to come."
About the Writers:
Maina Zaina, Writer and a Virtual Assistant at AVCreativity Studio. She enjoys media entertainment and is an avid fan of "K-Wave". She loves her job because she is exposed to different types of entertainment. She also believes in the saying "If you want to be successful, don't seek success - seek competence, empowerment; do nothing short of the best that you can do" by Jaggi Vasudev
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