Tuesday, October 4, 2011

The Colors of the Rainbow

Rainbow over Kansas
Photo:   Patrick Emerson

When the Sun is shining and there is rain as well, you may see a rainbow in the sky!

As sunlight passes through the water droplets, it is bent and split into the colors of the rainbow. Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of all visible colors. Rainbows appear in seven colors because water droplets break white sunlight into the seven colors of the spectrum (red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet).

You can only see a rainbow if the Sun is behind you and the rain in front. The main rainbow becomes visible at an angle of around 40" from the horizon. You might be able to see a second rainbow above the main one in which the colors are in reverse order. You can even make your own rainbow using a garden hose or water sprinkler to form the water droplets in the air on a sunny day.  Source of text:  Kids' Crossing

Rainbow over Melbourne
Photo: Jes

Double rainbow caught in black and white over Melbourne
This photograph proves that rainbows look stunning even in black and white. Notice the pronounced and dark Alexander’s band (the space between two rainbows so called after the scientist  Alexander of Aphrodisias, who first described the phenomenon).

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