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Different Kinds of Rainbows

A rainbow over a mountain range

Whether you stand outside during every rain shower to spot rainbows or you just enjoy seeing them around, there are tons of different kinds of rainbows to spot and learn about. From multiple variations on the single arc rainbow to twinned rainbows and double arcs, check out what rainbows hold in store for you!

Singe Arc Rainbows

There are 12 different kinds of single arc rainbows that are decided based on the colors, strength of the bands, and supernumerary bows that appear, or don’t appear, in the arc. Here are the basics:

  • RAB-1 has all the colors visible, strong Alexander band, and supernumerary bows.
  • RAB-2 has all the colors visible, strong Alexander band, but no supernumerary bows.
  • RAB-3 has all the colors visible, weak Alexander band, and supernumerary bows.
  • RAB-4 has all the colors visible, weak Alexander band, but no supernumerary bows.
  • RAB-5 has no violet or no blue color.
  • RAB-6 has no green color.
  • RAB-7 has no violet and no blue color.
  • RAB-8 has no blue and no green color.
  • RAB-9 has only blue and red colors.
  • RAB-10 has only yellow and orangey red colors.
  • RAB-11 has only red colors.
  • RAB-12 is an unspecified other kind of rainbow.

You can create many of these rainbow reflections with Rainbow Symphony products like the Gem Series.

Double Rainbows

A double rainbow seen by the beach in the early morning

The double rainbow is another different kind of rainbow that you may see on a regular basis. Sometimes light is reflected off the same raindrop more than once to create a double rainbow. These are two separate arcs that appear together. The second rainbow will be an inverted rainbow reflection of the first — with the red on the inside and the blue on the outside. It’s also often much lighter than the first rainbow. On very rare occasions, you may see triple and quadruple rainbows.

Twinned Rainbows

Twinned rainbows may look like double rainbows at first, but if you look closer, they actually meet at the base. These are two arcs that split from the same spot. Scientists have yet to discover what causes twinned rainbows to appear!

Rainbows In Space

While different kinds of rainbows may not appear in space itself, as there is nothing substantial enough to reflect light, they may appear on other planets and moons. One of Saturn’s moons, Titan, has moisture and an atmosphere that is friendly to rainbow creation. It is believed by scientists that Titan is one place outside of Earth that rainbows can appear!

Rainbow Symphony Favorites

Rainbow Symphony loves rainbows so much, we keep them around us all day long. From our window film to our suncatchers, decorating with rainbows is easy when you browse our collection!


A Rainbow Symphony infographic on different kinds of rainbows