GARDEN CITY, Utah (ABC4) — Residents of Garden City at Bear Lake were treated to a visual spectacle on Monday afternoon.

A photo sent into ABC4 by Alta Hurtt captured the breathtaking view of a complete double rainbow with the scenic Bear Lake in the background.

A double rainbow with Bear Lake in the background
A double rainbow in Garden City, Utah near Bear Lake (Image courtesy of Alta Hurtt)

Rainbows are already beautiful treats of nature. To get two complete arcs as bright and vivid as the ones Hurtt captured on Monday feels like a rare occurrence, once even bringing one man in a viral video to tears. According to the Met Office, however, double rainbows are actually fairly common, especially when the sun is low in the sky during the early morning or late afternoon hours.

Rainbows only require two things to form: The sun and a little bit of rain. As light from the sun shines through the raindrops, it refracts separating the light in different wavelengths, each with its own corresponding color. The Weather Channel reports that the sun needs to be behind the viewer while rain is falling in front of them in order to see the wonders of a rainbow.

So what causes one rainbow to become two?

The Met Office says a double rainbow is formed when that light from the sun is reflected twice within a raindrop. The violet light that reaches an observer comes from the higher raindrops while the red lights come from the lower raindrops.

The secondary rainbow – which is typically much fainter than the primary rainbow – takes a wider arc and is usually twice the size of the primary. An interesting phenomenon of the double rainbow is because of how the light is refracted, the secondary rainbow’s colors are inverted.

In a primary rainbow, the colors appear going red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet from the outside of the arc going in. The secondary rainbow’s colors travel in the opposite direction, with violet appearing as the outermost color and red as the innermost.

Should you get the opportunity to take in the sights of a double rainbow that spans all the way across the sky, be sure to take a photo, record a video, or live in the moment and enjoy the beauty of nature.