Round rainbow can be seen mostly by pilots and occupants of an aircraft when flying above a cloud layer. When the sun shines at such an angle that you can see the airplane's shadow, the shadow will be encircled by a perfect rainbow. Actually, there will be two concentric rainbows, but the second one with the inverse color sequence is sometimes hard to see. What makes it most interesting is the fact that this rainbow cannot be seen by anybody else in the air or on the ground even if they see your shadow against a cloud. You are so special that it exists only for you. If you are an AOPA member, you can read more about it by following this link.

Here's a club for those pilots who have actually encountered a round rainbow in the sky. If you were fortunate enough to capture it on camera, send your pictures to us at and we will post it here. Please provide as much detail as you remember: date and place, altitude, aircraft type, type of camera, any special photo techniques. Click on the images to enlarge.

Author: Katerina Noskova, Russia

Date: May 2, 2006

Location: Novosibirsk, Russia

Altitude: approx. 20,000 feet

Aircraft Type: Airbus A310

Camera: Pentax Optio MX4

Comments: 20 minutes after takeoff from Novosibirsk, Russia

Author: Ali Dedkov, Krasnoyarsk, Russia

Date: October 1, 2004

Location: Moscow, Russia

Altitude: 6,000 feet (estimated)

Aircraft Type: Unknown (passenger jet)

Camera: PENTAX Optio MX

Comments: This photo is taken on a descend to Moscow

Author: Julian Zagorodnev, New York

Date: December 2002

Location: Central East Florida

Altitude: 7,000 feet

Aircraft Type: Piper Seminole PA-44-180

Camera: SONY digital video/still camera combo DCR-TRV50

Comments: If you look closer, you can actually see the second rainbow around the inner one