Photographer captures "exceptionally rare" five rainbow formation in his garden

Photo credit: I love Photo and Apple. - Getty Images
Photo credit: I love Photo and Apple. - Getty Images

From Country Living

When photographer John Entwhistle and his daughter headed in to their back garden to watch the sunset over New Jersey, after Hurricane Florence had passed last month, they weren't expecting to witness a rare weather phenomenon.

Luckily, John had his camera to hand and shot a series of photos as no less than five rainbows faded in and out of view overhead for around half an hour. John then shared this incredible photo of the spectacle on Instagram with the caption: "Rainbow Insanity".

"I could be wrong but that sure looks like a quintuple rainbow at sunset tonight over the Jersey Shore, NJ. I’ve been told this is a Supernumerary Rainbow," he said.

His quintuple rainbow sighting soon came to the attention of NASA, who confirmed that the pair had indeed witnessed a Supernumerary Rainbow. They then shared John's photo as their Astronomy Picture of the Day earlier this week, wowing fans on social media.

The Space Agency explained that, while Supernumerary Rainbows aren't rare, it's unusual for five to appear like a "hall of rainbows" in the sky.

"Supernumerary Rainbows only form when falling water droplets are all nearly the same size and typically less than a millimetre across," NASA said. "Then, sunlight will not only reflect from inside the raindrops, but interfere, a wave phenomenon similar to ripples on a pond when a stone is thrown in.

"In fact, supernumerary rainbows can only be explained with waves, and their noted existence in the early 1800s was considered early evidence of light's wave nature."

John appears to have a bit of a knack for capturing crazy weather phenomena. He recently shared this spectacular shot of a lightning strike hitting the Jersey Shore.

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