Who could have thought that a simple phenomenon of bending of light as it passes through water droplets can create such an amazing spectrum of colors: Rainbow! When this arc of seven colors appears in the sky, it also brings a smiling arc on everyone’s face. Rainbow from ancient times attracted the attention of humans. In many cultures, there are legends and myths about the power of the rainbow, people devote works of art, music, and poetry to it. Here are some amazing facts about rainbows that will blow your mind.
- Rainbows are made up of all seven colors that come from light. These colors are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. A great way to remember these colors is the think of the acronym, which seems like a man’s name, ROY G BIV
- Until the 17th century, people didn’t know how rainbow formed and what it was made of! Before Isaac Newton discovered the seven spectra of light in rainbow everyone used to think there were only five colors in the rainbow. And before the Renaissance, people thought there were no more than three colors. Even today, average Chinese people claim that there are only five colors in Rainbow!
- It is taught in every grade school that rainbow is created due to the bending of light, also known as Refraction. But guess what, reflection also plays an important role in rainbow formation. Light is refracted as it enters the raindrop, then reflected inside the drop and again refracted as it goes out of the drop.
- A rainbow is, in fact, a full circle of light. However, due to most people viewing a rainbow on the ground we only see a semi-circle or arc of the rainbow.
- A rainbow is not situated at a specified distance, instead it will always be visible to a person at the precise angle freshwater droplets reflect the light which is 42 degrees in the opposite direction of the sun.
- What do rainbows have to so with peacocks? The Greeks used the word “iris” to refer to any colored circle, thus the iris of the eye or even the spot on the tail of a peacock. Other words that take their cue from the goddess of the rainbow include the iris flower, the chemical iridium, and the word “iridescent.”
- We can’t see rainbows in the winter because in the winter raindrops freeze into snowflakes so fewer raindrops fall.
- According to Greek mythology, the rainbow is a bridge between heaven and earth.
- Rainbows can be seen not just in rain but also mist, spray, fog, and dew, whenever there are water drops in the air and light shining from behind at the right angle.
- Very rarely, light can be reflected 3 or 4 times within a water droplet which produces even fainter tertiary (third) and quaternary (fourth) rainbows in the direction of the sun.
- When light passes through a raindrop, it creates its individual rainbow. But it is so small that we can’t see it. So, when the light passes through millions of raindrops, collectively it makes a visible rainbow which we can watch with our naked eye.
- It’s true that no two people can see the same rainbow. Sounds like some mythological curse but actually, it involves simple physics. The light refracted by the same raindrop is at a different angle according to your vision and is at a different angle according to the next person’s vision as both of you can never be at the same spot at the same time. Simple! Isn’t it?
- A "moonbow" is a rare lunar rainbow or night time rainbow produced by light from the moon. Our eyes see it as white even though all colors are faintly present.
- A "fogbow" is formed by cloud and fog droplets, they are almost white with very faint colors visible. Fogbows are quite large and much broader than a rainbow.
- A rainbow doesn’t even actually “exist,” … it’s not an object, it’s an optical phenomenon. Which is why no two people see the same rainbow.
- Double rainbows occur when light bounces inside the water droplet more than once before escaping, the spectrum of the second arch will be reversed. Sometimes third or fourth rainbows can be seen.
- The world’s longest-lasting rainbow was seen over Sheffield, England on March 14, 1994.
- The state of Hawaii is home to the most Rainbows than any other area on Earth.
- A red rainbow is a very rare variation of the rainbow.