From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. A
is an optical andmeteorological phenomenonthat causes a nearly continuousspectrum of light to appear inthe sky when the sun shinesonto falling rain. It is amulticoloured arc with red onthe outside and violet on theinside. The full sequence of colours is most commonlycited as red, orange, yellow,green, blue, indigo, and violet,though it is important to notethat this is an inconsistent list;all primary and secondary colours are present in some form, but only onetertiary. It is commonly thought that indigo was included due to the differentreligious connotations of the numbers six and seven at the time of IsaacNewton's work on light, despite its lack of scientific significance and the poor ability of humans to distinguishcolours in the blue portion of the visual spectrum.The rainbow effect can be observed whenever there are water drops in the air and sunlight shining from behind theobserver at a low altitude or angle. The most spectacular rainbow displays when half of the sky is still dark withdraining clouds and the observer is at a spot with clear sky overhead. Another common place to see the rainboweffect is near waterfalls. Rainbow fringes can sometimes be seen at the edges of backlit clouds and as verticalbands in distant rain or virga. The effect can also be artificially created by dispersing water droplets into the airduring a sunny day.In a very few cases, a moonbow, or night-time rainbow, can be seen on strongly moonlit nights. As human visualperception for colour in low light is poor, moonbows are perceived to be white.
Physics of rainbows
The rainbow's appearance is caused by dispersion of sunlight as it is refracted by (approximately spherical)raindrops. The light is first refracted as it enters the surface of the raindrop, reflects off the back of the drop, and isagain refracted as it leaves the drop. The overall effect is that theincoming light is reflected back over a wide rangeof angles, with the most intense light at an angle of about 40°–42°, regardless of the size of the drop. Since thewater of the raindrops is dispersive, the amount that the sunlight is bent depends upon the wavelength (colour) of the light's constituent parts. Blue light is refracted at a greater angle than red light, but because the area of the back
1 Physics of rainbows
2 Rainbows in religion and mythology
3 Rainbows in literature
4 Remembering the sequence of colours
5 See also
7 External links
A rainbow arches over Florida.Rainbow arching over a paddock of cattle.
Side 1af 6Rainbow - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia10-11-2005http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rainbow