Hey. How are Rainbows formed??

I've got an little presentation 2 do and i was wondering if ne1 knows how rainbows r made, i mean wit all the science stuff about light etc.

10 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Rainbows are caused by the light of the sun refracting through the water droplets in the air.

    (From an encyclopedia)


    An arc showing the colors of the spectrum, violet inside and red outside, which appears when the sun shines through water droplets. It often appears while the sun is shining after a brief thundershower in the late afternoon or on fog layers. The sun, the observer's eye, and the center of the arc must be aligned–the rainbow appears in the part of the sky opposite the sun. The rainbow is an arc of 180° if the sun is at the horizon, and it cannot appear if the sun is high in the sky. It is caused by the refraction and reflection of rays from the sun on a "sheet" of water droplets. The light is refracted as it enters the sphere of the individual water drop, then is reflected from the drop's opposite side, and is again refracted as it leaves the drop and passes to the observer's eye. When conditions are suitable, a double rainbow may be seen; a larger, paler, secondary rainbow with colors reversed (red inside) outside the primary arc is caused by two refractions and two reflections of the ray while it is inside a drop. The "rainbows" of mist, lawn spray, and spray from a waterfall are similarly caused. The lunary rainbow, seen much less often, is usually observable soon after dark following a brief summer storm or shower when the moon is nearly full. Aristotle was first to devote serious attention to the rainbow, but his mistaken explanation of it misled thinkers for centuries. Descartes in the 17th cent. also attempted to account for the phenomenon but the correct explanation of it could not be furnished until the physics of light and its reflection and refraction were understood and the spectrum explained. In religion and art the rainbow symbolizes God's promise of mercy to mankind after the Deluge (Gen. 9.13). The Greeks and Romans called the rainbow the sign of Iris, messenger of the gods. The Inca and other Native Americans regarded the rainbow as a gift from the sun-god. There are fairy tales of searches for the pot of gold at the foot of the rainbow.

    See R. Greenler, Rainbows, Halos, and Glories (1990).


    I hope that will explain it enough for you!


    Source(s): Many years of reading about science & the world around us.
  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Rainbows appear when you have the proper combination of sunlight, rain, and point-of-view. When sun rays come into contact with rain/water, the path of those rays will actually reflect off of and become bent by the properties of the water...the rays will breakdown into the separate wavelengths of all the colors that comprise visible white light in spectral order--red, orange, yellow, green, blue, violet, ultraviolet, and megenta. A rainbow will always appear opposite where the sun is....i.e.-if the sun's in the west, the rainbow would be in the east....so the best times to look are either early morning within a couple hours of sunrise, or late afternoon. You'll never seen one at noon when the sun is overhead.

    You can even create a rainbow with your garden hose....if it's sunny out, take your hose and set it to a strong spray so the water speads out---keep your back to the sun. The reflection of sunlight off of the water particles will make a rainbow appear.

  • JenV
    Lv 6
    1 decade ago

    It's a refraction of light, similar to what happens as light passes through a crystal, that is caused by tiny droplets of water in the earth's atmosphere. If you're doing a presentation, you could actually practice and make rainbows in the classroom by using a crystal. If you don't have one, your teacher probably would be willing to lend you one for your presentation.

  • aidt
    Lv 4
    3 years ago

    The rainbow varieties while the sunlight's rays that are refracted(into different hues) and contemplated by skill of rain drops attain our eye at a definite attitude(approximately 40 two stages for prevalent rainbow and approximately fifty one stages for secondary rainbow).in accordance to basic geometric concepts,the rain drops which lie at this actual attitude and course opposite to the sunlight lie interior the kind of an entire circle or a component of it (arc).regardless of if there are sufficient rain drops to style an entire circle,to an observer on earth's floor,it is going to look like an arc basically as this is constrained by skill of horizon.while the sunlight is close to the horizon,an observer on a intense mountain or on a airplane would be waiting to work out the full circle of the rainbow.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    rainbows are formed when white light from the sun hits a water droplet in the air and splits the light into different wavelengths. This all has to do with snells law of n1sintheta1=n2sintheta2

    Pretty much each colour you see is dispered by a different drop of water, and are refraced at the right angle to be shawn back into your eye.

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Hey, the chick was right. Go to Wikipedia (Link below) to read all about the Science behind Rainbows.....

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    when light rays from the sun are refracted by water droplets in the sun . the water acts as a prism here.

  • kevin
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    they just form magically out of no where. it is once said that leprechauns are the culprits behind the formation of a rainbow

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    They are artificially created in labs by gay scientists

  • 6 years ago

    rain are colurs

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