Chasing Rainbows

Wellard, where Jack goes to school, seems to be Mother Nature’s Rainbow magnet. I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve exited the train station at Wellard to be greeted and dazzled by the beautiful diplay of a complete rainbow arc. Sometimes even a double rainbow. In fact, double rainbows are becoming more and more common…I wonder if it’s due to the amount of pollutants in the air affecting the refraction of sunlight? You hardly ever saw double rainbows 30, 40 years ago.




Has anyone observed how the outer rainbow in a double has its colour spectrum reversed?

The other phenomenon that I’ve noticed more of lately are what experts call “solar optic rainbows”. More specifically, a “Sundog” aka Parhelion or “Vertical Rainbow”, which is what you get when sunlight passes through ice crystals in a cloud. (Yes, it’s currently Winter here in Western Australia). Basically, they look like a piece of a rainbow hiding in clouds, with the sun nearby and no rain in sight. As opposed to a normal rainbow, which forms on opposite sides to the Sun and through droplets of water in the atmosphere.

Here’s one such Sundog that I caught on my mobile phone in Rockingham, Western Australia, on 13th June 2016.



A lesser-observed phenomenon is the Moondog, or halo around the Moon, which obviously only occurs at night. I witnessed one such Moondog aka Paraselenae, the other night. It was a cold, crisp and clear night, and the Moon was full or nearly so, and it had a large halo around it. Not close to it, mind you, but far enough to give the impression of something not quite ordinary. The halo was about 10 times the Moon’s diameter away from it.

Again, I didn’t have a DSLR camera on me, so could only take a photo of the phenomenon using my mobile phone. It’s NOT the reddish ring close to the Moon, it’s the white one further out, you can just about see its arc to the left of the treetops in the photo.


For a far better picture and explanation of Moondogs, read here.

And no, the significance of the names of these phenomena, Sundog and Moondog, haven’t been lost on this canine-loving doglady! I don’t believe in coincidences, only Serendipity. It’s surely a Sign, a good omen of better days ahead.

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