The 360-degree Rainbow

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 8:18 PM GMT on April 14, 2005

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Most people don't realize it, but a rainbow is actually a full circle. You usually can't see the full circle, since half of the rainbow lies beneath the horizon, where it is not raining. After all, there is no weather underground. However, if one is in an airplane or overlooking a waterfall, the 360-degree rainbow can be seen. I know--I have seen them twice from research airplanes that were flying through rain showers. Check out the 360-degree rainbow image at the bottom. Note that there is a separate optical phenomena, called a glory (caused by diffraction), surrounding the shadow of the airplane. Unfortunately, I only had a 23mm wide angle lens, and could not capture the entire 360-degree rainbow. To my knowledge, no one has captured a photograph of a full NATURAL 360-degree rainbow. You can easily photograph one using a sprinkler, as this photographer has done here.

I challenge all you wunderphotographers to capture a 360-degree rainbow image in rain or waterfall mist. First photographer to post such a natural 360-degree rainbow image wins a free 2-year wunderground.com membership!

Update: In 2013, a photographer on a helicopter in Australia captured a beautiful picture of a 360-degree rainbow, posted at NASA's Astronomy Picture of the Day website.

Jeff Masters

360-degree rainbow (JeffMasters)
A rainbow is not a half-circle, but a full circle, as this photo taken from NOAA's P-3 Orion weather reseach aircraft demonstrates. A rain shower beneath the aircraft allowed me to see the entire circle of the rainbow, although the 23-mm wide angle lens was not quite wide enough to capture the entire circle.
360-degree rainbow

The views of the author are his/her own and do not necessarily represent the position of The Weather Company or its parent, IBM.

Reader Comments

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Back to the Future!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I predict all of Grothar's predictions will come true ;-)
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Another day another rainbow...nice.

The blog is in rough shape at the moment, Cat6 will load only half the time and with much difficulty.
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A tsunami of gravitational waves distorting space and time.....or the blog is just broken.
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
I predict Donald Trump will run for President in 2016 and win. I predict Taz will change his name to Twilightzone. I also predict Pensacoladoug and Patrap will have an argument in 2016 which will carry over to 2017. I predict aquak9 will grow the biggest green tomatoes you've ever seen. I predict that the blog will be so screwed up we won't be able to find each other and we go into deep depression from "blog envy". I predict I will look just as good in 2017 as I did in 2005 and the rest of you won't. Now, for the most important event, I predict that in 2017.....................

Sorry, I've got to go


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I'm just gonna start posting LOLCats.

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This is starting to become a daily occurrence.
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hmmm.
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should we post ever time we visit? I mean, we really oughtta have some rules or guidelines or something.
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Well, darn.


I found my keys from 2005. But the car is now toast,so....

Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Ya know, I could use a do-over of 2005.
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So strange!
I got a Happy New Year email from a (non-WU) friend earlier today that was ALSO from 2005...there must be a message here somewhere!
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(waves hi to everyone....AGAIN)

hey aqua- this is FUTURE aqua- you're gonna be a GREAT gardener- have faith!!
Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
Hmmm, I should probably leave myself a note about the thunderstorm that hits
tonight. No, I don't remember stuff from last week, no way I will remember what
I wrote twelve years ago. heh heh heh
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2nd time today!
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Quoting 145. mitthbevnuruodo:


For which year then? LOL

It's a free choice! ;)
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Quoting 144. Xandra:

Happy New Year All!


For which year then? LOL
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Happy New Year All!

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2005 we love ya.
I'm gonna go hide under a rock!
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Yup,..IBM rocks.

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Silent Woman in the night you came'...
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Maybe I oughtta just stay HERE -
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Rainbowed again. (sigh)
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Member Since: December 31, 1969 Posts: Comments:
So, hey 2005,look what the GOP has done to Science in yer futcha'..


Wisconsin DNR: Climate change cause debatable

Environment The Associated Press · Madison, Wis. · Dec 29, 2016


The Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources has quietly removed language from its website that said humans and greenhouse gases are the main cause of climate change.

The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports the website now states the cause of climate change is debatable. Gone are sentences attributing global warming to human activities and rising carbon dioxide levels. Also gone is language saying that scientists agree the Great Lakes region will see longer summers and shorter winters, decreased ice cover and changes in rain and snow patterns if climate change continues.

• More: Climate coverage

The new language states: "As it has done throughout the centuries, the earth is going through a change. The reasons for this change at this particular time in the earth's long history are being debated and researched by academic entities outside the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources."

The blurb goes on to state that the DNR's responsibility is to manage Wisconsin's natural resources through whatever event presents itself and the staff is ready to adapt its strategies to protect lakes, waterways, plants and wildlife.

Most scientists agree burning fossil fuels has increased greenhouse gases and caused global warming. A 2014 United Nations report found that human influence on climate is clear. The report also found global warming is unequivocal and unprecedented.

Republican Gov. Scott Walker controls the DNR. He and his fellow Republicans have been critical of President Barack Obama's climate change initiatives. Republican Attorney General Brad Schimel joined other states in a 2015 federal lawsuit challenging limitations on power plant carbon emissions. The DNR has removed other online information about global warming since Walker took office, including a trove of information compiled by former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's global warming task force and a teaching guide on climate change. The agency turned that guide over to the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

DNR spokesperson James Dick told the Journal Sentinel that the climate change language revisions "reflects our position on this topic that we have communicated for years, that our agency regularly must respond to a variety of environmental and human stressors from drought, flooding, wind events to changing demographics."

Joel Bammeier, president of the Chicago-based Alliance for the Great Lakes, said he doesn't understand why the DNR made the climate change revisions.

"To me, it looks like they are trying to cover up a debate that really isn't happening."

Paul Robbins, director of the University of Wisconsin-Madison's Nelson Institute for Environmental Studies said the revisions don't surprise him.

"When climate change gets so politicized" he said, "you can imagine agencies and its leaders haggling over wording."

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T-59 HRS REMAIN OF 2016


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We have got to stop meeting like this ;-)
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Sigh. Finally let out of log in purgatory . . . you could log in, but not into your account . . . and I end up here. Well, it could be worse I suppose. Let's see if I can return once again to 2016. Although, given how that year turned out, maybe going back to 2005 would be better.
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Hey, my first trip here. Now I know what all the fuss is about...
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So 2005, lemme tell ya about Life in December 2016 .

Sit down, itsa gonna be a spell.

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Is this some sort of parallel universe? Second time transported here, first time commenting. Lol.
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Yeah, I'm in the 360° rainbow club!

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Am I the 1st 1st-timer here? Never before did I get rainbowed ... now I know :/
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There may be more comments from 2016 than from the original posting...
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I guess we all get a trip to the rainbow for Christmas LOL.
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I think we all should just hang out on this blog post from now on.
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Merry Christmas, many blessings and Joy for Christmas 2016 to all. May this rainbow signify the storms moving out of people's lives and beauty moving in.
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Merry Christmas to all who might mysteriously end up here today.
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Dear Future Madame Secretary,

Please purchase a summer cottage outside of Piitsburgh, one near Kalamazoo, and another north of Green Bay. The future thanks you.

Yours truly,

The 21st Century.
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2nd time today!
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Lets do the time warp again!
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I think i got rainbowed!
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ANyone seen my Xmas Balls here? Thanks in advance.
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NOT AGAIN!?
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Well..hello 2005, we have to talk.
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Time stamp!
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I've been redirected here so many times over the last few months, might as well add to the comment section!
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Quoting 96. RTLSNK:

Now this is funny, the 2005 blog only had 17 comments.
Actually, comments 1, 5, 6, 10, 11, and 18 were deleted, so I am
not sure if comment 18 was from 2005 or 2006.
Counting mine, we now have 22 comments this year.
At the rate we keep getting sent here we could double that before
the end of the year. LOL

5 in 2006
2 in 2008
1 in 2009
1 in 2010
7 in 2012
5 in 2013
3 in 2014
2 in 2015

That totals 65 comments, so 30 comments have been deleted.
We have discovered an internet Worm Hole right here on WU. heh heh heh

I'm getting out of here while I still can.


Who stole the comments!
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I have been rainbowed!
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seeing a rainbow again.
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Well!! 3 nights in a row!
This is getting scaring now!
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Cat 6 lead authors: WU cofounder Dr. Jeff Masters (right), who flew w/NOAA Hurricane Hunters 1986-1990, & WU meteorologist Bob Henson, @bhensonweather