The Rainbow Eclipse

Double Rainbow over the Atlantic Ocean (Nov 3, 2013)

For many of us on board the spv Star Flyer, last Sunday’s eclipse on the Atlantic Ocean will be remembered as much for the rainbows as for the eclipse.

The main image above shows the spectacular and classic double rainbow that appeared before the partial phases began, demonstrating the rain showers and unsettled weather we passed through on eclipse day.

Low Rainbow at the 2013 Eclipse at Sea

The low rainbow shown here appeared well into the partial phase, with 60 to 70 % of the Sun covered, so the source of light is considerably smaller than usual for a rainbow. You can see multiple bands of colour on the inner edge of the inner bow. Seeing this appear and rushing over to shoot it was another exciting moment in a hectic morning of roller coaster emotions. As this bow appeared, the light was beginning to drop rapidly toward the final spectacle of totality.

– Alan, November 7, 2013 / © 2013 Alan Dyer

2 Replies to “The Rainbow Eclipse”

  1. Roy – the low rainbow shot was taken at 11:11 UT (give or take 30 seconds — I’m going by the camera clock accurate to just a minute and seeing what time it provided for my totality shot vs when I know totality was (11:30:20 UT for our site). Our final site was at 16° 58′ 50″ N and 37° 10′ 37″ W, again likely off a few arc sec as I took the fix after totality but probably before we started our major sail west.

  2. Alan,
    Thank you for posting the two excellent rainbow photos. The classic “double-rainbow” image is particularly elegant, set against the open sea, with no human artifacts anywhere to be seen. The “low-rainbow” photo is remarkable for its resolution of the spectral colours in the rainbow, a consequence (apparently) of the reduced angular size of the Sun in partial eclipse. A rare photo, possibly one of a kind! If you will let me know the time (UTC) that the low-rainbow photo was taken, I wish to use Starry-Night to determine the extent of the partial phase of the eclipse at that moment (you mention 60 to 70%), and the orientation of the partially-eclipsed solar disk relative to the horizon. I assume you were near 17N, 37W at that moment.
    Thanks in advance,

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