PHOTO: Rare White Rainbow Spotted Over China

by Jonathan Howard

Just when you think the great outdoors has shown you all it has to offer, it surprises you. Take this rare white rainbow for instance. When you see a rainbow, you usually note the vibrant colors. While not all of ROY G BIV is always there, folks have fun looking at the natural phenomenon.

However, did you know about white rainbows or fogbows? It’s a strange sight to behold, but a rare and exciting one as well. Instead of colorful light being created by sunlight passing through water droplets in the air, something else goes on up there after the rainfall.

In Heihe, Heilongjiang province in China this past week, citizens were treated to a rare sight. The city is near the northern border that China shares with Russia. With a bright blue sky making the fogbow pop, it was all made possible by the partly sunny weather in the region.

Basically, what makes the white rainbow white, is the size of the water droplets. When they are too small, the light isn’t broken up by the prism effect in the same way. AccuWeather explained the situation.

AccuWeather Meteorologist Jesse Ferrell broke it down.

“Somewhat rare but often overlooked, ‘fogbows’ are seen opposite the sun, like rainbows, but lack their color because of the tiny size of the water droplets which diffract light.”

So, what should you do if you want to catch a fogbow? Well, the white rainbow isn’t as easy to spot as you might think. Wait for light rain, or for the rain to pass like you would any other rainbow-looking excursion. However, find a bank of fog, or a usually foggy area and just hope you can catch the seldom seen bow.

White Rainbows, Moonbows, and More

It is always great to see nature showing off. Rainbows are taken for granted but they really are amazing if you think about it. However, with all the wonders of the world, you know that there are going to be even more rainbow alternatives. And, they can look different in certain situations. Like if you’re flying, a fogbow could look like a full circle from the air.

However, things like moonbows exist as well. That one is a bit more self-explanatory. It’s a rainbow that you catch in the moonlight. They can be seen at waterfalls and after certain rain showers. Depending on how strong the moon’s glow is. Moonbows, like white rainbows, will often appear more white than colorful.

So, Outsiders, have you ever seen a fogbow? Is it something that you want to see now? I know that the next time I see fog in a rain storm, I’m going to keep an eye out afterward. It’s not something you often see, but it’s gotta be worth keeping your eyes peeled for it.