St. Charles Herald-Guide

Somewhere over Highway 90

Heather R. Breaux - September 27, 2007

The first day of autumn in Des Allemands was crowned with overcast skies, a few rain showers and the phenomenal optical illusion of that of a double rainbow over Highway 90, pictured at right.

Rainbows are defined as appearing in the sky as a spectrum of light when the sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth’s atmosphere.

And according to the encyclopedia Web site Wikipedia, most take the form of a multi-colored arc with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section, but catching a glimpse of a double rainbow is even more of a rare occurance.

Occasionally, a second, dimmer, and thicker rainbow is seen outside the primary bow because of a double reflection of sunlight inside the raindrops.

As a result of the second reflection, the colors of a secondary rainbow are inverted with red on the inside. The dark area of unlit sky lying between the primary and secondary bows is called Alexander’s Band, after Alexander of Aphrodisas who first described the phenomenon.

Wikipedia also states that the rainbow has made a place for itself in legends and mythology.

The Greeks believed that the rainbow was a path made by a messenger between Earth and Heaven. The Chinese said that the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by a goddess using five different colored stones.

And in Christian and Jewish scripture, the rainbow is thought of as a sign of the convent between God and man and the promise to Noah that he would never flood the world again.

But whatever its meaning, this breathtaking view of a double rainbow caught the attention of many motorists, who pulled onto the highway’s shoulder to capture the image with their cellphones and cameras.

Questions? Comments? Story ideas? Email Lifestyles Editor Heather R. Breaux at

DOUBLE RAINBOW. This close up view of the rainbow’s bands was taken on Highway 90 in Des Allemands.
Photo by Heather R. Breaux
DOUBLE RAINBOW. This close up view of the rainbow’s bands was taken on Highway 90 in Des Allemands.