Sunday, August 7, 2011

August 7, 2011 : Fog Bow

Fog Bow

A fog bow is a similar phenomenon to a rainbow, however, as its name suggests, it appears as a bow in fog rather than rain. Because of the very small size of water droplets that cause fog—smaller than 0.05 millimetres (0.0020 in)—the fog bow has only very weak colors, with a red outer edge and bluish inner.

In many cases when the droplets are very small, fog bows appear white, and are therefore sometimes called
white rainbows. This lack of color is a distinguishing feature from a glory, which has multiple pale colored rings caused by diffraction. When the droplets forming it are almost all of the same size the fog bow can have multiple inner rings, or supernumeraries, that are more strongly colored than the main bow. According to NASA:

The fogbow's lack of colors is caused by the smaller water drops ... so small that the wavelength of light becomes important. Diffraction smears out colors that would be created by larger rainbow water drops ...

A fog bow seen in clouds, typically from an aircraft looking downwards, is called a
cloud bow. Mariners sometimes call fog bows sea-dogs.

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