Why Have We Seen So Many Rainbows Lately?


We’re seeing more rainbows across the sky lately because of the combination of the perfect sun angles and rain.

Sunlight moves through the water droplets and bends the light and reflects it back out. When the light leaves the water droplets, it’s separated into color wavelengths. This is why we see so many colors in a rainbow. It’s light broken down.

We’re seeing them more now because of our current season and weather pattern. We’re in what’s called our “rainy” season. Warmer air can also hold more water droplets. This is why you’ll see more rainbows in the warmer months. In the Winter, the moisture in the air is frozen and responsible for sun pillars and sun dogs.

To see a rainbow, you need a rain shower or very saturated air. Then there needs to be sunlight to shine on the raindrops. You’ll need to be in between the rain and the sun to see the rainbow.

The best sun angles are at 42 degrees and below… so not too high in the sky. That’s why the best times to see rainbows are a few hours after sunrise and a few hours before sunset.

Rainbows mean something different around the world. In the Bible, they’re a sign from God that he’ll never flood the Earth again, In Ireland, there’s that famous pot of gold if you can find the end. The Mandan Indians maintained caution and even advised against pointing at one.

Another interesting fact about the rainbow is that they’re complete circles. We just see a part of them from the ground which is why it appears only to be an arc. A way you can see the full circle of a rainbow is if you’re in a plane and high in the sky.

One more interesting fact about rainbows… the next time you see a double rainbow, notice how the second rainbow has the same color scheme as the first one but in reverse.

Kari DeCoteau near Dunseith
Penny Morin
Heather White
Jessica Fritz near Rugby
Jay Moody – south of Bowman
Jay Moody – south of Bowman

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