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How are rainbows made?

How are rainbows made?
Sarah McCarthy from Stockton on Tees (Aged 5-14)
Daniel Loft from Bedfordshire (Age:5-14)


2 Responses

  1. Hi Young Scientist :).
    Light from the Sun is bent ‘refracted’ and bounced ‘reflected’ inside raindrops as they fall before it re emerges to reach our eyes. During refraction this so called ‘white light’ from the Sun (which does look white before it’s light reaches our atmosphere) is spread out according to the energy levels of the individual colours which we see, whilst inside the raindrop! This creates a continuous band of change in colour but most of us can see seven colours ina rainbow starting with violet at the bottom, with indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange and, at the top red. Another ‘Secondary’ rainbow may also be visible a little higher than this ‘Primary’ rainbow with it’s colours in the opposite order i.e. beginning with red. This fascinating phenomenon is created by the light undergoing a second reflection whithin the raindrop before it re emerges. Of course this process is ocurring in millions of raindrops at the same time so enough of the refracted light can reach into our eyes for us to ‘see’ the rainbow/s.
    I hope this answers your question.
    Good Luck.

  2. White visible light is actually composed of colors ranging from violet across blue, green and yellow to red. When sunlight passes through raindrops the colors bend through different angles, so the light that passes through spreads in space which creates a rainbow.

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