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11 stunning images of rainbows and their less-famous cousins

By: Katherine Butler on July 29, 2016, 2:55 p.m.
Rainbow reflection Malmesjaur in Moskosel, Lappland Sweden

Photo: Jerry MagnuM Porsbjer/Wikipedia

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Reflection and refraction

Strictly defined, a rainbow is a band of colors formed by the reflection and refraction of the sun’s rays inside raindrops. But regardless of the science, there is an element of the fantastic to rainbows. While their colors include red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, they are also made up of an infinite range of hues that the human eye cannot see. Rainbows can appear as multiples or even appear without color at all. If you can see the shadow of the back of your head after a storm, you are very likely to look up to a rainbow as well. Pictured here are a rainbow and its reflection over Malmesjaur in Moskosel, Lappland Sweden, as photographed on July 14, 2009.