How Rainbow is Formed During Rainy Season?

How Rainbow is Formed During Rainy Season?

We heard many people asking how a rainbow is formed during the rainy season? This is why here we’ve mentioned all the necessary details on this topic. The first thing that you should clear in your mind is “what is a rainbow”? It is an optical phenomenon formed when visible light from the sun (shining behind you at a low altitude angle) is scattered by water droplets. This means that you will usually see rainbows in the western sky during the morning and in the eastern sky during the early morning. Let’s understand the whole process in detail by going through detailed information on why do we see rainbows in the sky after the rain.

How Rainbow is Formed During Rainy Season

How are rainbows formed?

Rainbow consists of seven colors namely, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. We see sunlight as white light but it is made up of a spectrum of different colors, each having a different wavelength. As water is denser than air, light passing from the air into a water droplet slows down and changes direction, in a process called refraction. The different wavelengths slow by different amounts with the shorter blue and violet wavelengths refracting more. These shorter waves go through an increased change of direction than the longer red wavelengths of light. This splits the white light into its component colors by dispersion. The light hits the back of the droplet. If the angle of incidence is larger enough, it will be internally reflected back out of the droplet.

The reason behind the rainbow color sequence

As the light exits the droplet it speeds up and is reflected again from the back of the droplet, further dispersing the colors. Due to this backward reflection, the blue light emerges at a smaller angle of 40 degrees to the incident white light. On the other hand, the red light emerges at a larger angle of 42 degrees. This is why we see blue on the inside of the primary rainbow arc and red on the outside.

What causes a double rainbow?

If you are standing in the right place, you’ll see the dispersed sunlight reflected back towards you like a colorful curved rainbow. Beyond the seven well-known colors, a rainbow is actually made up of a continuous spectrum of colors, including those that the humans cannot see. In a double or secondary rainbow, a weaker second arc is seen outside the primary arc. This is caused by the light being reflected twice inside the droplet, resulting in the order of colors being reversed.

Another thing that you might be not aware of is “why do we see a curved rainbow”? This is because of the collection of water droplets that form the correct angle between yourself, the droplet, and the sun. They produce a corn shape pointing at the sun with you at the tip. Due to this corn shape, you’ll see a larger rainbow if the reflecting water droplets are further away for you. The base of the cone forms a circle at an angle of 40 to 42 degrees to the line between your head and your shadow. This means that rainbows always form as full circles. But as the horizon gets in the way, only an arc centered on the shadow of your head, or antisolar point, will be seen. You need to be high enough above the earth’s surface to see it all.

What makes the rainbow unique to us?

As two people cannot physically occupy the same space, the antisolar point would vary and light would reach you at slightly different angles. This makes the rainbow unique to each one of us. The height of the sun determines the position of the antisolar point and therefore how much of an arc is visible. The higher the sun is in the sky, the smaller the arch of the rainbow above the horizon. This is why you can rarely see rainbows in the middle of the day. Rainbows are not fixed objects, but appear to move as you move. This is because the light that forms it does so at a specific distance and angle, which will always stay the same.

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