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When sunlight falls on the millions of water droplets in the air during rain or mist or near waterfalls, they undergo 'dispersion' which means scattering of light. Sunlight, 'white' light, is a combination of various colours from violet to red, colours found on a rainbow, and each colour corresponds to a specific 'wavelength' of light.

So, to put it in simple terms, sunlight is a package/bundle of various colours and when the sunlight enters a droplet, the 'bundle' is 'unwrapped' and when it leaves the water droplet on the other side, the constituents of the 'bundle' are scattered.

Think of separate colours of sunlight as different vehicles. Violet, which has the shortest wavelength of the visible spectrum of light can be compared to a cycle. Red, which has the longest wavelength of the visible spectrum can be compared to a trailer truck. Other colours in between range from motor-cycles to hatchbacks to limos to buses, from violet to red. Cycles can turn very fast whereas trailer trucks take a longer time to turn and likewise the other categories of vehicles. This can be generalised as longer vehicles take longer to turn.

This is what happens in the water droplet. Before entering the water droplet, all the vehicles (light colours) travel at the same speed. When they hit the water droplet, its like taking a turn. Cycles (violet) turns the farthest and trailer-truck (red) the least. Keep in mind that they are still travelling at the same speed. So when the light leave the droplet, violet and red and the colours in between are moving in separate directions and hence the rainbow. That is why you always see the rainbow on the other side of the sun.

You could create a rainbow yourself using a good light source and a prism, although it won't be bow-shaped.

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Q: How do droplets and sunlight create a rainbow?
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Related questions

When sunlight is dispersed and reflected by water droplets a what forms?

a rainbow!

Who created the rainbow?

After a rain, rainbow is created when sunlight refracts millions of droplets of water. No one created the rainbow.

Can you land on a rainbow?

Uummm, no. A rainbow is only a refraction of sunlight through micro droplets of water in the atmosphere.

How do water droplets andsunlight create a rainbow?


What forms when sunlight is separated into colors by tiny droplets of water in the air?

A rainbow

Why can you see a rainbow when sunlight is refracted through water droplets?

i think becauseof a light pyrimaid

What process makes a rainbow after a rain storm?

the water droplets after the rain remains in the atmosphere. When the sunlight passes through this droplets the white light of the sun splits in to 7 colors this colors forms the rainbow

The sun shining through droplets of moisture to create a spectrum is called?


Is blue a color of the rainbow?

Yes. You can create your own rainbow using a prism (and sunlight).

Who painted the rainbow in the sky?

The rainbow in the sky is painted by the sunlight splitting through water droplets in the air. The white light is split into its many colours, causing the rainbow.

What do you see when sunlight is refracted through water droplets?

Due to refraction of sun light through the hanging droplets of water we get a chance of viewing the attractive rainbow.

How does a rainbow get its colours?

Right after a thunderstorm, there will still be some water droplets in the sky. When the sunlight shines on these water droplets, the white light that is reflected off the water droplets is split into seven different colours: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, indigo.