The Bible says that God sent the first rainbow after the Great Flood as a sign of his promise to never flood the earth again. Rainbows have enchanted and mystified people for thousands of years.
- A rainbow is made when light is reflected through raindrops. Sunlight is made up of many colors. If you shine light through a prism, the prism bends the sunlight causing the colors to separate and form a band of color, or a spectrum. Red is bent the least, followed by orange and yellow. At the other end of the spectrum is blue, purple, and violet, which are bent the most. During a rain shower, raindrops act like a prism, causing the colors in the sunlight to split.
- It can be seen when the sun is at a 42 degree angle to the earth – usually in the late afternoon or evening.
- The sun’s light refracts or bends to reflect through a rainbow. Just as you can never catch up with the sun because of the earth’s rotation, it’s impossible to reach the end of it. The curve of the earth means the rainbow is always ahead of you.
- Scientists have discovered that it’s possible to see a double, triple, or even quadruple rainbow.
- Sailors believed spotting a rainbow in the afternoon or evening was a good omen. It meant calm weather was coming. And they were right. Rainbows usually do appear after a storm has passed.
- A moonbow appears at night in places like the Caribbean that experience frequent night showers. Moonbows occur when the moon reflects through raindrops. They do have some color, but to the human eye, they appear white.
- An Irish legend says that leprechauns, small men who spend their time making shoes, can be found at the end of a rainbow. If you can keep your eye on them long enough, they might tell you where a pot of gold is hidden.
Questions and Answers
Question: Can I make a rainbow at home?
Answer: Yes. Turn on a hose and stand with the sun at your back. Spray the hose and you’ll likely see a rainbow, especially if the sun is low in the sky.
Become a rainbow expert.