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Posted at 10:28 AM ET, 10/17/2011

The evolution of Friday’s rainbow

A rainbow panorama created by stitching two photographs together. The rainbow was photographed in Stafford County during the late morning on Friday.

Portions of the Washington area were treated to some interesting and vivid rainbows last Friday. The rainbows were created as bands of moisture-laden rain showers were illuminated by bright sunshine.

One rainbow, visible in the southern portion of the Washington area late Friday morning, was visible in the sky for over 30 minutes. Initially, the rainbow seemed to play hide-and-seek as it would become temporarily obscured by the abundant, low-level cumulus clouds that raced to the east. As the clouds moved away, the rainbow would reappear.

The evolution of the rainbow was particularly interesting. It first appeared as two short rainbow segments beneath a heavy rain shower that moved across the northern sky. As the rain shower approached, the rainbow segments grew upward at the same time and then met together in the middle of the sky. For a moment, it was a double rainbow.

Read below to see the evolution of the rainbow in photos.

A rain shower moving east-to-west across the northern sky is led by a rainbow. Initially, only short rainbow segments were visible with the shower. This rainbow is on the eastern side of the shower. This photo is facing northt.

A short rainbow segment on the western side of the rain shower. This photo was taken about the same time as the photo above. This photo is facing northwest.

As the rain shower moved closer, the eastern rainbow segment slowly grew upward into the sky.

The western segment of the rainbow slowly grew upward at the same time the eastern rainbow segment grew upward.

It took about 15 minutes for the eastern and western rainbow segments to meet together in the middle of the sky, with a vivid color. For a moment, it appeared as a double-rainbow.

At times, low-level clouds obscured portions of the rainbow. Because the clouds raced across the sky, areas of the rainbow would disappear then reappear quite rapidly.

The rainbow was often most vibrant where it met the horizon.

The full spectrum of rainbow colors appeared quite clearly in the sky. I’ve noticed that some rainbows seem to show mostly red and yellow shades, particularly when the sun is low in the sky. This photo was taken during the late morning, when the angle of the sun was well above the horizon.

A Stafford County barn with a rainbow during the late morning on Friday.

By  |  10:28 AM ET, 10/17/2011

Categories:  Latest, Photography

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