Australian Weather Calendar: March 2019

March Photograph by Andy Smith Photography

Getting high on weather photography

Capturing the weather from great heights is something that's familiar to Kincumber resident Andy Smith, a professional pilot who manages flying school Central Coast Aero Club out of New South Wales' Central Coast Airport. 'I'm lucky that I have an interest in photography and that I fly light aircraft as well, so aerial weather photography has become my thing,' he says. It was actually in a Cessna aircraft during a flight training session that Andy snapped this double rainbow over Lake Munmorah. 'I fly every day so see rainbows fairly regularly, but double rainbows are pretty unique,' he says. Andy says he always takes his camera inflight just in case the sky puts on a show—and the air shows don't get much more spectacular than this!

The science

Rainbows are formed when sunlight is refracted (bent) and reflected while passing through raindrops. Blue light refracts at a greater angle than red light, resulting in the separation of the colours in the spectrum of white light. Sometimes a dimmer secondary rainbow is visible, as seen in this photo. It is caused by a double reflection of the sunlight inside the raindrop. The colours of the secondary rainbow are inverted. In this photo, green and purple 'supernumerary' rainbows are also visible on the inside of the primary bow. These are formed due to the wave-like properties of light.