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Niagara Floodlight Bows

The mist and spray from Niagara falls is famous for creating rainbows. See the bottom of this page for an example.

The bows at left, imaged by atmospheric optics expert Michael Ellestad, are different for they appear to radiate out from lights near the American Falls and are also curiously disjointed.

Appearances deceive. Floodlights behind the camera on the Canadian side are beaming downwards and across the river to light the American Falls. Their light creates the bow fragments and the rays converging to the Falls are in effect antisolar rays or more correctly, 'anti-floodlight' rays.

The bows do not join together smoothly because they are each created by a separate floodlight beam pointing in a different direction. Each fragment therefore has a different centre.

Images ©Michael Ellestad, shown with permission
Proof that separate floodlights create the bows. Here the lights have different colours.


Michael Ellestad has pictured the more familiar bows built of sunshine and Niagara mist.

All is revealed

This picture by Michiel de Boer shows the banks of floodlights on the Canadian side. Those in the foreground shine on the Canadian Falls. In the background are the beams crossing the river towards the American falls and creating the bow pictured above.