More News:

September 20, 2018

Photographer captures rare, supernumerary rainbow over Jersey Shore

Nature Photography
Rainbow stock Frans Van Heerden/


Few natural occurrences are more beautiful and joyous to behold than rainbows. Two of them at once is enough to make you cry in amazement and rack up 45 million views on YouTube.

Photographer John Entwistle, whose work often documents nature in New Jersey, captured a rare sight on Monday while watching the sunset with his daughter in Farmingdale, N.J.

RELATED ARTICLE: Pennsylvania sunset photo creates spooky illusion of an alien invasion

At the end of a rainy afternoon, Entwistle and his daughter watched a boldly colorful display inflame the sky for more than a half hour, fading in and out as the sun went down.

Entwistle later confirmed that what he saw was a supernumerary rainbow, a rare phenomenon that occurs when tiny raindrops create additional arcs with green, purple and pink hues.

Les Cowley, an optics expert, describes supernumerary rainbows as an illustration of wave-particle duality.

"These 'supernumerary bows' are an intimation of the limitations of geometric optics, for it is totally unable to explain them," Cowley writes at his website Atmospheric Optics

"To do so, we must take account of the wave nature of light."

As Entwistle described, the number and color of the bows in Farmingdale fluctuated from minute to minute, a transitory sight that perfectly fits the description of a supernumerary rainbow.

Summer may have reached its official end, but at least the shore had one last surprise in store for us.