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 founded 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.