Rainbow Facts

The Bible says that God put the very first rainbow in the sky. It was God’s way of promising Noah he would never destroy the Earth with a flood again. But what is a rainbow?

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What is a rainbow

When you look at the sunlight (with sunglasses on so you don’t hurt your eyes), the light looks white, doesn’t it? It isn’t white, though, it is actually a whole lot of different colors. The light coming from the sun is actually every color we see in a rainbow. So why don’t we always see these colors? Why do we usually just see white?

The light we see is white because it is not passing through anything. But if the sun is shining while the rain is falling or immediately after the rain stops (while there is still a lot of moisture in the air), the sunlight bends (refracts) as it passes through the water in the air. The bending motion lets us see the true colors of the sun…a rainbow.

BUT…we cannot see the rainbow even if it is there UNLESS we are standing (or sitting) between the sun and the rain. So when you think about it, rainbows are really pretty special.

Where is the end of a rainbow

The answer to that question is easy…there is no end. A rainbow is actually a circle, but because we are looking at it from the ground, we cannot see it all.

A rainbow is not a thing

A rainbow is not something that can be touched or studied or examined. A rainbow is an optical illusion. This means it is nothing more than a light ‘trick’.

Because a rainbow is light, this also means that a rainbow is never in any one place. In fact, no two people see the exact same rainbow. Even if ten people are standing side by side and all say they see a rainbow, they are not seeing the same one. Each person is seeing the light bending through their own eyes…not anyone else’s. WEIRD!!!!

 

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The colors of the rainbow

Because of the way the light bends, the red ribbon of color in a rainbow will always be on top on the outer edge of the rainbow. The blue will always be on the bottom or the last color on the inside edge of the rainbow. Well almost always…

Double rainbows

A double rainbow happens when the light bends and reflects off the water drops in the air TWICE. In other words, the second rainbow is a reflection of the first rainbow. The second or double rainbow will be lighter in color and the colors will be reversed.

When you see a double rainbow, you will notice that the sky between the two rainbows is dark, and unlit. This band of dark sky is called Alexander’s Band. It has this name because of the man who first noticed that there was no light in the sky between the two rainbows. His name was Alexander of Aphrodisias. He lived over 2,000 years ago.

No matter how rainbows are made or which color is on top or bottom, we can all agree that rainbows are one of the prettiest sights in nature.