If you ever wondered, “What is a rainbow?”, you are definitely not alone. Many people asked me, “How are rainbows formed?” or “What is a double rainbow?” Keep reading this article about rainbows if you want to find the right answers to your questions.
Rainbows are a natural phenomenon that has captured our imagination for centuries. They have been seen as symbols of hope, joy, and peace; but most importantly, they have always been considered beautiful.
Rainbows are a beautiful sight and can be seen almost anywhere on Earth. They are not just rainbows that you see in the sky, but also the ones you see in your cereal bowl or when you look at your reflection in water.
What is a Rainbow?
A rainbow occurs in the sky as a result of sunlight’s refraction and reflection off raindrops. In summary, it is a luminous band that exhibits a spectrum of colors as a result of light breakdown. When we watch it, we can see that it has the shape of an arc, which is how it got its name, although it actually has a circular shape, which we cannot see entirely until we are in a very high area.
How are Rainbows formed?
As you are probably aware, certain circumstances must exist for a rainbow to occur. They are mentioned here to illustrate the process of rainbow formation:
- When sunlight shines on raindrop-shaped water droplets, which behave like miniature prisms when in the proper location, the sun’s white light is divided into a group of rays of various hues that separate as the rays move within the water droplets.
- Later, the rays strike the droplet’s inner wall and are reflected back, striking the droplet’s surface and exiting to the outside.
- Each ray will have a unique angle and color, and when millions of droplets combine, we see a rainbow.
To summarize, a rainbow requires rain, sunshine, and sunlight passing thru the droplets at a specific angle. The sun is always behind a rainbow as it develops.
What are the Colors of a Rainbow?
Newton established that light, like the rainbow, consists of seven hues.
The rainbow’s seven hues are as follows:
Red, orange, yellow, green, cyan, blue, violet.
Although there are not truly seven colors, there are seven in the visible light spectrum, that is, the light that we can differentiate since the human eye responds to wavelengths between 390 and 750 nm.
The rainbow is a continuous gradation of hues, allowing for the perception of at least hundreds of distinct colors. However, the aforementioned hues are the most useful in comprehending it, with violet at its inner end and red at its outer end.
The Full Rainbow
As previously stated, the rainbow is actually a circumference. The most common occurrence is that when we watch it, we only see an arc; this is due to our location on the earth’s surface.
To observe the entire rainbow or its circle, we would need to climb above the earth’s surface, in addition to possessing all the ingredients necessary for the production of a rainbow: raindrops, sun, and an optimal angle between the two variables. This implies that if we are on top of a mountain, despite our elevation, the mountain can act as an obstruction since it blocks the sun’s rays and the shadow it casts stops the rainbow from fully completing.
However, if we ride in an airplane or helicopter, we can admire this magnificent phenomenon, as the shadow created by these modes of transport is extremely small in comparison to the radius of a rainbow.
The Double Rainbow
Surely you have ever gazed up into the sky and seen not one, but two rainbows. A second rainbow is referred to as a “double rainbow.”
A double rainbow is a rare occurrence; it occurs when the sun’s rays penetrate thru the bottom of water droplets and reach our eyes as a result of the bounce within the drop. Due to the fact that light bounces twice, the rays cross and send the water drop in the other direction. This results in the formation of a double rainbow, also known as a secondary rainbow, which will appear above the primary rainbow.
It has less intensity than the main rainbow because the rays lose energy during the rebounds, and the stripes, in addition to being broader, are in reverse order, with the red color at the inner end and the violet color at the outer end.