How many rainbows can you see in this picture?

For Australian amateur photographer Nola Davies it was the snap of a lifetime: six individual rainbows curving beautifully into the stillness of a lake near her home

But for others, spotting each one in her miraculous photograph might perhaps take a little more work.

Mrs Davies took this stunning picture from her home overlooking Camden Haven river two hundred miles north of Sydney, Australia.

But while some cynics might say that it is only possible to spot three or four rainbows at best, Mrs Davies claims to be able to see a total of six hidden in the photo.

She thought she had captured four rainbows and sent it to British atmospheric optics expert Dr Les Cowley who claims he can see two more in the frame.

Nola Davies took this stunning photo of what she thought were four rainbows near her home

Dr Cowley said: 'Over the years many other strange and unexplained rainbows have been reported but without good photographs it's hard to know what was really seen. Nola's six are a sight of a lifetime though.'

Nola explained: 'I was with my husband John and we were only aware of four rainbows at the time. It was early morning with the sun roughly from the right hand side downriver.'

'Some of the extra rainbows that can be seen appear to be reflections, but they are actually caused by sunlight reflecting from the water and hitting different raindrops from the initial bows.

Dr Cowley explains: 'All rainbows are made when sunlight is reflected inside falling raindrops.

'The bow we see most often and the brightest one in Nola's picture (1) comes from just one reflection inside almost perfectly round raindrops. All but the largest raindrops are round and not at all like the teardrops commonly pictured.'

An expert has identified the six different rainbows within the image - can you see each one?

He continued: 'The outer bow (2), the one we also see sometimes, comes when sunlight reflects twice in each raindrop.

'Now we enter the territory of rare and unusual events.

'A third bow (3) crosses the two brightest ones. That was made from sunlight first reflected upwards from the river before reflecting once again inside the raindrops.

'To raindrops it looks as though a second sun is shining upwards from the water. To have a chance of seeing this bow you need a large sheet of calm water in front or behind you.

'The bright upside-down bow in the water (4) is not an ordinary reflection of the one in the sky but it is made by rays of light from a different set of raindrops bounced upwards by the river.

'Bow 5 needs even more reflections two from the river and one inside the raindrops.'

The last rainbow is barely discernible, but Dr Cowley insists it is there if you look hard enough.

He added: 'Bow 6, of which Nola's camera has caught just a faint fragment, is from one river reflection and two more inside raindrops.

'It is so faint because of the many reflections and because its colours are spread out.'

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