Rainbow is one of truly mesmerizing and fascinating phenomenon of nature. Rainbow is the colorful arch that appears in the sky when the sun rays are scattered by water droplets. Therefore, rainbow often appears after rain. Rainbow is truly a spectacular and incredible view and there are several interesting facts about rainbow that you shouldn’t miss:
This is how rainbow is formed!The metrological phenomenon of rainbow happens when the light rays coming from the sun pass through a medium denser than air. When they enter the denser medium, the light rays change their direction. This phenomenon is called refraction. Refraction occurs when the light from the sun changes direction when passing through a medium denser than air, such as a raindrop. Once the refracted light enters the raindrop, it is reflected off the back and then refracted again before reaching our eyes. And how we see seven different colors of rainbow? Well, it’s because the sunlight is made of many different wavelengths. Refraction splits the white light into different colors due t different wavelengths. Longer wavelengths appear as red and shorter wavelengths appear as blue or violet. This is how this stunning view is created.
12 exciting facts about rainbow you shouldn’t miss!Rainbows have rich history. The earliest known reference and scientific explanation of rainbow was discovered by a German monk named Theodoric in 1304. He observed how the sunlight is reflected and refracted when it passes through a large globe filled with water. He, then, documented his observations and explained how rainbow is formed.
1. Rainbow has an interesting and long history!The “rainy arches” have a quite interesting and long history. The Greeks believed that rainbows were the path to reach the immortals. Greek philosopher Xenophanes believed that rainbow had only three color; purple, yellow-green, and red. And Aristotle agreed with Xenophanes. On the other hand, the Greek poet Homer believed that rainbow had only one color that is white. By the 17th century, it was decided that rainbow has five colors; red, yellow, green, blue, and purple. Rene Descartes was the first who described in 1637 that Rainbows were created when the sunlight gets split into different colors by raindrops. Finally, in 1666, Isaac Newton explained that rainbow had seven colors as he added indigo and orange colors. You can easily memorize the colors of rainbow by the term “ROYGBIV”; each alphabet refereeing to one color. Another of mind-blowing facts about rainbow! There aren’t essentially seven colors in a rainbow, or any particular number. The color spectrum depends on the angle of refraction and thus there is no precise boundary between adjacent colors.
2. All about rainbow!The word “rainbow” is derived from Latin word “arcus pluvius” meaning “the rainy arch”. It is named so because the usual rainbow looks like an archer’s bow and it appears after rainfall. It’s interesting that a there is no specific distance or the location of the rainbow. Rather, it depends on the angle of refraction. A person can see the seven bands of white light when the light gets refracted at a precise 42 degrees angle, opposite to the sun. Moreover, if the sun is lower, the rainbow appears at higher location in the sky. Generally, rainbow is considered as the symbol of hope. Some suggest that seven colors of rainbow signify hope, promise, peace, equality, fortune, new beginnings, and eternal bliss. In many cultures, rainbow is believed to be a sign of hope and enlightenment. However, some believe it to be a sign of bad luck.
3. Rainbow myths and facts in different cultures!As per the Greek mythology, the rainbow is a bridge between heaven and earth, created by the rainbow goddess –Iris. In ancient times, Serbian people believed that the rainbow was the Storm God’s bow. There is another popular and interesting folklore of possibility of finding a pot of gold if someone finds the end of rainbow. According to the legend, leprechauns are mistrustful creatures who detest humans. So, when they found treasure of gold, they buried it again so no human could ever find it. One can find this pot of gold where the rainbow ends or where it touches the earth. Therefore, if a person can find or reach the end of rainbow, he can have that pot of gold. This sounds interesting and appealing. But unfortunately, science says that there is no ending point of rainbow. Rainbow is circular and the arch shape is just an illusion. Despite the fact, many cultures believe in this folklore of a pot of gold at the end of rainbow. The Norse mythology says that rainbow is the bridge that connects Midgard (world of men) with Asgard (the realm of gods). Japanese believe that ancestors took the rainbow bridges to descend to the Earth. Similarly, it’s a common belief in some cultures that pointing towards the rainbow brings bad luck. Arawak Indians of South America believe that seeing a rainbow over the ocean is the sign of good luck and fortunate
3. Interesting facts about Iris - the goddess of the rainbow!The ancient Greeks and Romans believed that rainbows were created by the goddess Iris. The legends suggest that Iris would use her pitcher to scoop up water and bring it into the clouds in order to form a rainbow. These rainbow paths were created in order to link us to the immortals. Greeks used the word “iris” for rainbow. Iris literally means “the colorful circle” and it also refers to the goddess iris.
4. Moonbows – the rainbows of moonlight!Its rather rare phenomenon but moonbows are another of incredible phenomenon of nature. A moonbow appears at night and it appears white. Moonbow is created by the gleaming light of the moon.
5. Rainbow is not necessarily linked to rain!Its common misconception that rainbow appears only after rain. The truth is it can appear in fog, mist, fog, sea spray, waterfalls etc. all that is needed is sunlight, water droplets and a perfect angle of refraction.
6. No two people see the same rainbow!The rainbow spectrum depends on the angle of refraction. The person standing next to you has a slightly different angle than yours. Moreover, it’s not an object; rather it’s an optical phenomenon. Therefore, no two people see the same rainbow pattern.
7. Double rainbows!It is possible that double rainbow appears, and it’s indeed a fascinating view. Double rainbow appears when the sunlight bounces inside the water droplet more than once before escaping. Consequently, the double rainbow spectrum appears in the sky. Fun fact! In case of double rainbow, the colors of both rainbows are in opposite order to each other. Rarely, but sometimes, third or fourth rainbows can be seen. The sky appears dark between the double rainbows. This is called “Alexander's band”, named after Alexander of Aphrodisias who first explained it in 200 AD.
Also read: Interesting facts about clouds
9. There are several variation / types of rainbow!
- Double rainbow – when two rainbows appear simultaneously but have exactly opposite color order
- Moonbow – the rainbow created by moonlight
- Monochrome or Red Rainbow - it is rare phenomenon. This monochrome red rainbow appears at either sunrise or sunset
- Cirumzenithal arcs or the upside down rainbows - this kind of rainbows appear when the sunlight reflects through ice crystals. It is also known as “sun smiles”.
- Supernumerary rainbow or the stacker rainbow – very rare phenomenon in which several faint rainbows appear on the inside of primary rainbow. Their color pattern is faint and pastel, different from the primary rainbow.
- Fogbow – the rainbow created by the sunlight shining on fog.