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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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โˆ™ 2009-04-26 15:26:49
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Q: Why does a rainbow appear bent or arched in a semicircle in the sky?
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Why does a Rainbow appear to be bent in a semicircle way?

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.

What is a synonym for curved?

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

What are synonyms for bent?

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

What are the properties of light involved in a rainbow formation?

can be bent

Why is the molecular geometry of water bent?

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

Is rainbow a source of light?

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.

Where does refraction appear in?

light waves are bent

What is a horseshoe magnet?

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.

A rod of length L has total charge Q distributed uniformly along its length it's then bent in the shape of a semicircle find the magnitude of the electric field at the centre of semicircle?

Why does an oar appear to be bent when part of it is in the water?


How is a rainbow a physical change?

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

Why rainbow can be seen?

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

What causes a straw in a glass of water to appear bent?


What does white light contain?

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.

Is a rainbow is a type of weather?

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.

Why does a pencil in a glass container filled with water appear to be bent?


Why does light appear bent?

gay ray's are caused by bum gravity

Why do objects appear bent in shape in a container of water?

The water becomes a refractor.

Why do objects appear to be bent when partially submerged under water?

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

Why does a rainbow have different colours?

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.

Do a pencil partically immersed in water appear bent because of diffraction of light?


What happens when light is bent as it passes throuh a droplet of water?

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

Why does a pencil appear to be bent when it is placed into a glass of water?

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

Why do a pencil appear to be bent or broken when seen through the side of the glass?

Because of refraction of light

Why does Rainbow look like a bow?

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.