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Answered 2009-04-26 15:26:49

Rainbows have been the subject of songs and poems, stories and mythology, but there is an explanation as to why rainbows appear as they do. Rainbows are light and you can't touch them. The sun must be shining and must be behind you, and there must be water droplets in the air in front of you. Sunlight shines into the water drops which act as tiny prisms that bend or "refract" the light and separate it into colors. Rays of a rainbow bend twice. As they enter the drops, the rays are bent, then they reflect off the back of the drops and bend again as they exit out the front of the drops. The rainbow is circular because when a raindrop bends light, the light exits the raindrop at a 40-42 degree angle away from the angle it entered the raindrop. The violets and blues bend at a 40 degree angle, and the Oranges and reds bend at a 42 degree angle. Light can also enter droplet, be reflected off the back of the droplet, only to be reflected of the front, and then off the back again before leaving. It is bent at each phase in this process, and a second rainbow can appear above the first one. In a double rainbow, the second rainbow will appear where it does because the light will be cumulatively bent some 50 to 53 degrees. This gives it its position "outside" the primary rainbow. Also, the colors will be inverted in this bow. Rainbows don't have "ends" but are full circled, but we can't see this because the horizon of the earth is in the way. If the sun is very low in the sky, either just before sunset or just after sunrise, we can see a half circle. The higher the sun is in the sky, the less we see of the rainbow. The only way to see the full circle of a rainbow in the sky is to be above the ground and have the sun behind you. You would have to look out on the drops from an airplane to see a circular rainbow. Now, this is quite complex, so it's possible you might get away with the old standard, "There is gold at the end of the rainbow and that's what makes the colors." Be sure that you watch your 6-year old closely as he/she might decide to pack his/her bags and go hunting for that bag of gold! Another way you may get away with explaining this off is buying a "prism" (it's a glass drop) and hanging it in a sunny window. It will reflect beautiful spots of light in the room and the effects are quite pleasant to study. Another way to view a full rainbow without leaving the ground is using a garden hose. Have it spray water in bright sunlight with the sun behind you and the spray in front of you. If the entire circle is not visible you can move the hose around to see the rest of the circle. The ones seen from airplanes are more spectacular, though.


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Because at every point IN the rainbow, the angle between the direction to the sun and the direction to your eye has to be the same angle. The only bunch of points that can satisfy that requirement is a bunch of points that are all on the same circle.

bent, rounded, twisted, bowed, arched, serpentine, sinuous

misshapen, twisted, angled, bowed, vurved, arched, crooked, distorted, stooped, hunched

it isn't bent, the light makes the water appear to be bent.

No, a rainbow does not produce light, it is an effect of light being bent (refracted). The source of the light seen in a rainbow is the Sun.

What is horseshoe magnet called A horseshoe looks like a (almost) semicircle. A (almost) semicircle magnet (north and south poles are bent so they face in the same direction) has been called a horseshoe magnet.

Ordinary yellow sunlight becomes a rainbow when different frequencies of light are bent in slightly different directions.

If white light is bent through a prism the colors of the rainbow would appear. So to answer your question, white light is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet.

They're light (bent but real light), and your eyes react to light.

no, a rainbow is what happens when light energy hits evaporated water particle in the air. the light is scattered and bent, causing the colors you see.

A rainbow has different colors because of refraction. When light passes from one material into another, it is bent slightly. In the case of a rainbow, sunlight is passing from air into the water droplets that are left behind during or after a rain shower. When the light passes into the water droplets, the red light is bent slightly less than the other colors of light while the blue and purple light is bent slightly more. The result is that the colors are separated and that you see them separately, as you would if you passed the light through a prism, and you end up with a rainbow.

The light rays from the submerged part of the objects are bent when they cross the water-air interface.

Refraction. Although it appears broken or bent, it's actually not. Refraction is really the key word here.

A pencil in water looks bent because of refraction. when light enters a substance with a different density than the one it came out of, the light either slows down or speeds up. this makes the light appear bent. If there is a pencil in the water, it appears bent because the light is traveling at different speeds through water and air.

The water will look like a rainbow. that's what happens when it rains

The "bow" referred to in "rainbow" is the sort of bent wooden pole used to shoot arrows. The arc of colors seen in the sky resembles the arc of a tightly strung bow.

The amount by which light is bent depends on its wavelength. The colors are arranged in the order of their wavelengths.

This is caused by Refraction. When light passes from a less dense medium to a denser medium, its direction is altered causing it to appear bent.

A straw appears bent in a cup of water because of refraction. The waves when hitting the water appear to bend making the straw really look like its bending when really its just the waves hitting the water and appearing to bend

A rainbow just appears as a semicircle but it is actually a complete circle. We just don't see the whole thing because the horizon gets in the way. Sometimes people on planes will see the entire circle with the shadow of the plane in the center. White light is made up of a mixture of all the different colors. Light takes the form of waves and all the different colors have a different wavelength. Red light has the longest wavelength (720 nm) while violet has the shortest (380 nm). These different wavelengths can be used to explain why you see all the different colors in the rainbow. When light hits water droplets in the air, it is bent slightly - this bending is called diffraction. The amount of diffraction depends on the wavelength - Red light is bent less than blue light so when white light meets the water droplets, it is separated into all the different colors. If you turn on a garden hose, adjust the nozzle to a fine spray and stand with your back to the sun, you will see a rainbow shining in the spray!

A rainbow is formed when sun light from behind you is refracted {bent} ,dispersed and reflected from the rain drops in front of you.Red colour is seen at the outside of the bow.Violet light is sen at the inner side of the bow.In a rainbow, the angle between the sun and the rain drops and the eye is about 42 degrees

This is due to the principle of refraction. Refraction occurs at the boundary of the two media air and water. When a light ray hits this boundary at an angle, it changes direction and seems to bend. So. the straw appear bent when we look at it through the water glass because light is being bent as it passes through the different media of air, water, and the glass.

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