Rainbow Facts

Rainbow Facts
Rainbows are phenomena caused by light reflection, refraction, and dispersion in water droplets. This creates a multi-colored arc in the sky that is seen from earth as a rainbow. Although it appears as if a rainbow is a particular distance from the person seeing it, it is actually an optical illusion appearing because of the angle to the water droplets in relation to the light. A rainbow is not something that can be touched or approached. It will disappear at the wrong angle. It is possible to see rainbows in the dew, fog, spray, mist and in the rain.
Interesting Rainbow Facts:
It is believed that rainbows got their names because of their shape. The arc looks like a bow (as in bow and arrows) and it was usually raining when the phenomena occurred.
There are seven colors in white light, as identified by Sir Isaac Newton. The seven colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. The name Roy G Biv is an acronym to help people remember the seven colors. These colors are all present in a rainbow.
Most rainbows are primary rainbows, with red on the outer edge and violet on the inner edge.
A double rainbow is present when a second rainbow, although much fainter, can be seen outside of the primary rainbow. The second rainbow will have its colors inverted.
Alexander's band is the name given to the dark sky located between the primary and secondary arcs. It was named after Alexander of Aphrodisias who was the first to describe the band in 200AD.
On very rare occasions a third and even fourth rainbow can occur.
On rare occasions the moon's light will produce a rainbow effect at night, called a moonbow. Despite the fact that all we can see from earth is white light, all seven colors are really present.
A fogbow is a faintly colored almost white rainbow that appears because of fog droplets and clouds. These types of light and water phenomena are larger than typical rainbows.
No two people can see the exact same rainbow (unless it is a photographed rainbow) because even a slight change in angle will produce a different rainbow. So a person standing beside you will see a different rainbow than you.
Rainbows are higher in the sky when the sun is lower in the sky, and they are lower in the sky when the sun is higher in the sky.
Winter rainbows are fairly scarce because the water droplets required for a rainbow freeze and fall to earth as snowflakes.
From an airplane a rainbow will appear as a circle. We can only see part of it on land.
Rainbows have contributed to ancient myths. The Greeks believed that the rainbow provided a bridge between heaven and earth.
Rainbows are more commonly seen near waterfalls and in the tropical regions of the earth.
Despite old folk tales about leprechauns and pots of gold at the end of rainbows, you can never reach the end of a rainbow.


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