Appearance of supernumeraries of the secondary rainbow in rain showers
Published in J. Opt. Soc. Am. A 4, 810-816, doi:10.1364/JOSAA.4.000810 in 1987
G. P. Können
The secondary rainbow scattering angle for spheroidal drops of water is virtually independent of aspect ratio for most visible wavelengths. For most solar heights the residual aspect-ratio dependence shifts the bow toward a smaller deviation angle if the drop size increases. These two facts explain why the supernumeraries of the secondary rainbow are never seen in rain showers. At high solar elevations the flattening of drops results in a shift of the secondary rainbow toward a larger deviation angle. This shift is still large enough to cause the formation of the first supernumerary in red light. This red supernumerary of the secondary rainbow may be observable by eye in natural showers if a red filter is used to remove the obscuring contribution of shorter wavelengths to the light of the rainbow.