Double rainbow lights up Winnipeg sky Sunday evening

By | April 27, 2020

Kermit the Frog might have found his rainbow connection — twice — had he been in Winnipeg Sunday evening.

Much of the late afternoon and early evening saw heavy cloud and light rain, but the sun broke through before setting and created two high arching rainbows.

Michael Pratt, a graphic designer who practices photography on the side, was watching a movie in his downtown apartment when he noticed the evening sky.

“I poked my head out onto the balcony … and there was the rainbow right there,” said Pratt, who quickly grabbed a nearby camera.

Local photographer Michael Pratt was able to capture Sunday’s rainbow on his apartment’s balcony in downtown Winnipeg. (Submitted by Michael Pratt)

“It was just lucky, I guess; timing is everything with this kind of thing because it was kind of like a blink-and-you-miss-it type of situation.”

Pratt had never been able to capture a rainbow so completely before, he said. 

A rainbow forms when sunlight enters raindrops. First, the white light is refracted, breaking from white light into the individual colours of the visible spectrum, then reflected inside the drop back to our eyes.

Double rainbows often form when the sun is low in the sky. (Submitted by Primar Bunao)

When the coloured light is reflected a second time, a second rainbow appears — which is what happened Sunday night. 

The second rainbow will mirror the colours in the opposite order of the first, with violet on top and red on the bottom.

As usual, Winnipeg’s second rainbow was slightly fainter than the first, but Paul Quaye was able to capture both after going outside to light his barbecue.

“The sky is just red … and I look up, and there it is — double rainbow,” said Quaye, who rushed inside to get his mobile phone and take the shot.

The second rainbow is always higher, more faint, and inverted — with red on the bottom and violet on top. (Submitted by Paul Quaye)

Quaye has been able to get “some half-decent” photos of single rainbows, but never a double, he said.

“The [primary] rainbow was so bright … the secondary one you can barely see,” he said.

“The light caught [the rainbows] the right way and there was some clouds in the sky to catch more colour.”

(Submitted by Joanna Miller)

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