Rainbows: A Spectacular Arc

We often refer to rainbows as a symbol of hope and harmony. After a storm with heavy rains, rainbows often show up bringing a smile to our faces. But do you actually know what a rainbow is?

According to Wikipedia, rainbows are an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in Earth’s atmosphere, resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky that take the form of a multicolored arc.

Did you know? All rainbows are full circles but the average observer only sees the upper half of the arc.

Rainbows aren’t located at a specific distance, but is the result of an optical illusion caused by airborne water droplets viewed from a certain angle of the sun’s rays. Therefore a rainbow is not an object and can’t be physically approached. They also form from many forms of airborne water such as rain, mist, spray and airborne dew, and come in multiple variations.

It’s impossible to see a rainbow from any angle other than 1 of 42 degrees from the direction opposite of the sun — so even if you see a rainbow, someone in a different location will see a different rainbow at the very same angle you’re seeing your rainbow.

Did you know? Aristotle, the Greek scholar, was the first to seriously study rainbows. 

Rainbows span a continuous spectrum of colors but what we actually see is a result of human color vision – a black-and-white photo of a rainbow shows no banding of any type!

We invite you to share your rainbow photos with millions of WeatherBug users – just make sure it’s not a black-and-white photo!

You’ll never find a rainbow if you’re looking down. Know Before™.

The WeatherBug – Earth Networks Team


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This entry was posted in General, Phenomenon.