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When we see two rainbows why is the outside one reversed in order?

Why, when we see two rainbows, is the outside one reversed in order?
Paul Campbell from West Yorkshire (age 35-44)

How are double rainbows formed?
Cara Chamberlain from Greater London (age 5-14)

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One Response

  1. The second order rainbow has undergone a second internal reflection inside the raindrop. Because of the different angles of reflection undergone by different wavelengths of light (colours) the second order rainbow colours appear in the opposite order. For more information, see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow#Scientific_explanation and http://www.atoptics.co.uk/bows.htm.

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