Highlands & Islands

'Incredibly rare rainbow' photographed in Highlands

Rainbow Image copyright Saxaphonejan/BBC Weather Watchers
Image caption The rainbow was photographed at Loch Lochy in the Highlands

Meteorologists have been surprised by the sighting of a double rainbow with an "incredibly rare" third rainbow inside the main bow.

The weather phenomenon was photographed on Wednesday night at Loch Lochy near Clunes in the Highlands.

Unusually, the colours of the third rainbow are in the same order as the main one it was attached to.

BBC Weather presenter Simon King said: "This has scratched a few heads as this is something incredibly rare."

The meteorologist said the rainbow had the characteristics of both of what are known as a twinned rainbow and supernumerary rainbow.

Supernumerary bows are formed by small, similar-sized raindrops which then create ripple-like rainbows.

'Is there a professor of rainbows?"

The rainbow was photographed by a BBC Weather Watcher.

Mr King said rainbows were among the weather's most fascinating optical weather phenomena.

He said: "Sometimes you may be lucky enough to see an outer 'double rainbow' where you'll see another fainter rainbow which will have the colour order reversed - violet through to red left to right instead of red to violet as in the primary.

"In rarer cases, you may also be lucky to get a 'reflected rainbow' where a body of water will give you another rainbow.

"However, one of our BBC Weather Watchers this morning sent us a photograph which has all of these things but on closer inspection, you'll notice that inside the main rainbow there is another rainbow on the inside almost attached with the colour order the same as that of the primary."

On Twitter, the presenter has asked: "Is there a professor of rainbows out there that can help?"

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