Know your rainbow: Do you know all the different types?
2 October 2022
Rains & Rainbows
Do You Know All the Different Types?
Dramatic double rainbow spotted by a Weather & Radar user
If you're tired of the rain, then let's take a look at the bright side. Or, in this case, on the colorful side. Because rain can often lead to rainbows!
A rainbow occurs when the sun shines on a curtain of rain in the air. The sunlight is split and reflected by the raindrops. We see the different colors in a rainbow because the colors in the sun's rays all have different wavelengths and are refracted differently.
The sun's rays contain all the colors at once. But when the sun's rays hit a round raindrop, the drop behaves like a prism, both deflecting and reflecting the light, splitting it into several colors.
The sun's position on the horizon determines the rainbow's appearance and shape. The sun must be at an angle of less than 42 degrees above the horizon, and the lower it is, the more curved the rainbow will be.
Double rainbows occur when there are two reflections on the back of a single raindrop, but at different angles.
Let's take a look at the rainbow's ghostly sister: the fogbow. The white arc contrasts beautifully with the light blue sky.
Fogbows are also called white rainbows and occur in much the same way as ordinary rainbows, with sunlight refracting through water droplets in the sky. The only difference is the size of the water droplets.
In rainbows, the water droplets are larger, so we can see more colors refracting through the droplets. In a fogbow, light is refracted through much smaller droplets, so only the white color appears.
Sometimes, however, a red band can be seen at the outer edge of the misty arc and a blue band at the inner edge of the arc.
But if there is gold at the end of the rainbow, what might be hiding at the end of a fogbow?
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