The rainbow from a plane picture is literally too good to be true

In the past day you might have stumbled upon a news story about a Canadian woman taking a picture of a rainbow from a plane window.

The only thing is, it's not possible to take such a photo as you can't actually fly through one in the first place - a rainbow being formed by droplets above the ground and centred on a line from the Sun to the observer's eye.

The rainbow effect, while undoubtedly pretty, is actually the result of polarisation.

You can read more about the science behind it in this blog posted in 2008.

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(Picture via Dan Barbus/Creative Commons)

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