Popular Science

Rainbows are (literally) in the eye of the beholder

Magical phenomena are even cooler when you understand the science behind them.
rainbow over sea ship

The people onboard this ship also see a rainbow far off in the distance.

Rainbows are perhaps the closest things we have to real magic. They appear like beautiful, ghostly apparitions in the sky just as the rain clears and the sun peeks out and gosh they make you feel happy, don’t they?

Like all seemingly magical things, rainbows get even better when you understand the science behind them. Let’s start with the basics:

What the heck is a rainbow, again?

Sunlight looks white (at least to human eyes). In reality, it’s composed of many different colors of including all of the “rainbow” shades— red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. This is the visible spectrum of light for

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science4 min read
Make A Knife Sharp Enough To Shave
By now just about everyone has heard of 127 Hours, the critically acclaimed movie inspired by Aron Ralston, the climber who was pinned by a boulder in Utah and spent an hour sawing his arm off with a dull knife blade. It's a dramatic film, but I don'
Popular Science2 min readTech
First look: Indian Motorcycle's 2020 Thunder Stroke
More power, more blacked-out styling, and more Ride Command connectivity take the 2020 Indian Thunder Stroke lineup to the next level.
Popular Science3 min readScience
This Deadly Fungal Disease Could Use Climate Change To Mobilize
As the climate changes, temperatures will increase and rain patterns will change—and along with those changes, by 2100, the fungus’s range will expand causing the number of Valley fever cases to increase by 50 percent, according to a new model publis