what makes a rainbow have different colours?

Why are rainbows diffent colours?

11 Answers

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  • BAM55
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Rainbows are seen when raindrops, falling in the distance, bend and bounce sunlight back towards your eye.

    Raindrops reflect sunlight, like a mirror. However raindrops also bend, or refract, light, like a lens. The reflection is spread into a cone of light. The edge of this cone is bright, because sunlight is concentrated at this angle (called the rainbow angle).

    Each colour of sunlight is bent and bounced in a slightly different direction. The colours separate around the bright edge of the reflection.

    The collection of raindrops that send the same bright colour towards your eye is curved. The centre of the curve is the shadow of your head (called the anti-solar point). The rainbow always appears at the same distance from this central point, at the rainbow angle.

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  • Stacey
    Lv 4
    4 years ago

    You broadly categorize light into those colors. If you want to, though, you can focus on the in-between hues, such as reddish orange, orangish yellow, yellowish green, greenish blue, and bluish violet... and give these hues new names (just make them up). After that you can consider them to be the MAIN COLORS, while red, orange, yellow, etc. are the in-between ones. On the other hand, there's no reason to do that, since all you'd accomplish is putting yourself off the conventions that everyone else uses, without getting any redeeming social value out of your effort. But however you define color, you, and everyone, can agree that there is such a thing as color. We can understand that the physical difference between one color and another color is a fairly trivial difference in the frequency of the light. But, no matter how slight the frequency difference, the psychological importance of color is very profound. Color exists even thought the colors transition into each other in the spectrum, rather than being each neatly compartmentalized. To say "it's all ONE KIND of light" is a crass oversimplification. Also, color has a strong correlation with physical phenomena, such as the photoelectric effect, that has consequences independent of the human mind. A photon with an energy greater than the work function of an electron in an atom will unbind the electron and maybe send it clear of the material it was in. A photon with less than the required amount of energy will not do so. You know, this discussion sort of makes me think about racial differences in humans.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Rainbows are optical and meteorological phenomena that cause a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. They take the form of a multicoloured arc, with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section of the arch.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The colours are in sunlight. When this is reflected inside a raindrop, it gets broken down into different colours. What you see is the light reflected off all the raindrops that are in the right position for each colour to be reflected into your eye. That's why it's part of a circle.

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  • 1 decade ago

    Your eyes do...Visible light is composed of a narrow band on the Electromagnetic radiation spectrum. The different colors that we see within the visible light frequencies/wavelength are themselves at differnent wavelengths.

    Visible light is normally "white" but when it is scattered/reflected/refracted by a prism, by a raindrop, by the atmosphere, etc. then it separates into different frequencies and we can see each one clearly.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    The 'refraction' of sunlight by rain droplets. Diagrams and full explanation provided at the link.

    http://eo.ucar.edu/rainbows/

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  • Rick J
    Lv 5
    1 decade ago

    Refraction

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Remember prisms at school? Splitting light into different colours? I guess its the same as that but somewhat more spectacular.

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  • 1 decade ago

    "...The rainbow's appearance is caused by dispersion of sunlight as it goes through raindrops..."

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    the real question is this is there treasure buried under the rainbow?

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