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10 stunning images of rainbows and their less-famous cousins

By: Katherine Butler on Sept. 24, 2012, 6:01 p.m.

Photo: Angus MacRae Flickr/Creative Commons

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The colors of the rainbow

At the same time, a rainbow truly is an individual experience. We see rainbows because the sun is behind us, reflecting sunlight off the rain, waterfall, mist, dew, or even a water fountain that is before us. But everyone sees their own individual rainbow according to their particular angle, light, and how their eyes interpret color. Combined, colors look white. Refracted, they are broken up into the blues, reds, and oranges we know. Pictured here is a double rainbow just before sunset over Castle Cornet, Guernsey, Great Britain. Double, or secondary, rainbows form when a beam of light is refracted twice.