Rainbow: why does it occur?

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I bet every time you see rainbow after the rain you feel the same emotions and act like a child who is happy when seeing snow or rainbow or any other natural phenomenon. But have you ever thought how does it occur? How this amazing mixture of colors occur? Here is a brief description of this natural process.

First such phenomenon as rainbow was analyzed in 1665 by Isaac Newton. Obviously the aim of science is not to show the beauty of the investigated object but to explain the technical complexity of creation. A rainbow occurs when raindrops and sunshine cross paths. White illumination is the core component of rainbow. Sunlight consists of all colors of light. When it enters water drops it reflects off their inside surfaces. Separating into all component colors light causes the effect of a glass prism. Interesting fact that every drop that falls from the sky just flashes its colors to the observer for just a second until another drop takes its place.

Next important fact about rainbow is that it can be seen in the opposite direction in the sky from sun. The light is reflected in the 42 degree angle to the original ray of sunlight. You probably have noticed that when traveling toward the end of a rainbow, it seems that it moves ahead of you. That is because the bow shape is actually the part of a cone of light is cut off by the horizon. Therefore, there is end of rainbow at all. It is limitless. As we have mentioned above, the angle of 42 degrees is seen from individual’s eye. If you are traveling by plane and the rain has just poured, you may catch a chance to see a complete circle of rainbow from the board.

The bright, primary rainbow has red on the outer edge and blue within. Sometimes when there are dark clouds on the sky you can see second rainbow with the order of colors reversed. It appears due to the additional reflection of sunlight through the raindrops. Some people claimed to see the third or fourth rainbow so next time be more attentive. Maybe you are the lucky one?

Not to be surprised with the rain check weather forecast in your favorite weather app with WeatherAPI weather APIs.

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