INCREDIBLE pictures have captured the moment a “very rare” triple rainbow appeared in the sky above Scotland.
Stacey Thomson, from Fraserburgh, Aberdeenshire, spotted the extremely elusive phenomenon and her mum, Loraine, rushed for her camera to take the snaps.
A leading meteorologist has confirmed the rarity of triple – or tertiary – rainbows as they are also known, as conditions and timing have to be absolutely perfect for them to occur.
They are so rare in fact, that the Journal of Applied Optics from the Optical Society in Washington D.C., only accepted the very first official photo of a triple rainbow above a field in Schiffdorf, Germany, in 2011.
There had been previous sightings claiming to show the remarkable sight, however these images were not officially accepted and only five scientific sightings have been noted in 250 years.
It was once thought by some experts that triple rainbows may not exist because they were that hard to spot.
Ms Thomson, a Tesco employee, was at a party in her hometown when her daughter spotted the rainbow and told her to take a photo.
Her photos clearly show two parallel rainbows shining an gloomy sky, with a third one appearing feintly in the middle.
The mother-of-three said: “Myself and my daughter came outside from a pool party and my daughter said ‘mum, a double rainbow, take a picture’.
“So I rushed to my bag to get out my phone and take a picture.
“Then I noticed that it was a triple rainbow which i’ve never seen before so I’m glad I took a picture of it.
“I have seen many double rainbows but never a triple one which are very rare.”
Alexander Burkill, a Met Office meteorologist, said: “‘It is pretty rare to see a triple rainbow.
“The lighting and timing has to be just right, and due to the light being refracted and reflected several times, the third rainbow is usually very faint.
“This image is also a great illustration that the ordering of the colours in the second rainbow is reversed from the first rainbow, the brightest one.”
Rainbows occur when sunlight passes through rain and is separated out into different colours.
Most light passes through the other side but a small portion is reflected and given its spherical shape by the shape of the rain droplet.
A triple rainbow goes through this process a further two times, when light that hasn’t been reflected is fed through the droplet again, making them usually very faint and extremely unusual.