Colin Leonhardt kindly gave us permission to publish this awesome full-circle rainbow photo, which was the Astronomy Picture of the Day on September 30, 2014. People often think they have seen full-circle rainbows, but what they are most commonly seeing are airplane glories or halos around the sun. It’s very rare to see a full-circle rainbow. You have to be up high to see one, and sky conditions have to be perfect. Remember … a true rainbow is seen when you’re looking opposite the sun, through a shower of rain.
Colin Leonhardt captured this full-circle rainbow over Cottesloe Beach near Perth, Australia in 2013. He was in a helicopter, flying between sunset and a shower of rain.
Notice the second rainbow – fainter and color-reversed – outside the first.
Thank you, Colin!
Bottom line: Beautiful photo of rare full-circle rainbow, captured from the air by Colin Leonhardt in Perth, Australia.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.