The Myths and Facts of Rainbows


Did you know that the rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon? Water droplets absorb sunlight, resulting in a spectrum of light in the sky. This light in turn creates a multi-coloured circular arc. In this article, we’ll look at the science, myth, and folklore behind the phenomenon. And we’ll discuss the size of rainbows, as well as some of the myths associated with them. Read on to learn more!

Science

Scientists have been studying rainbows for centuries. Many ancient civilizations have documented rainbows, but only the most advanced have explained their origins. Scientists in the Middle East and Asia have continued Aristotle’s work, and polymath Ibn al-Haytham documented the phenomenon in his book Magala fi al-Hala wa Qaws Quzah. In the modern era, physicists like Roger Bacon have determined the exact angle at which a rainbow appears and its geometric foundation. Scientists around the world have since discovered that rainbows are created by the reflection of sunlight through raindrops.

Myth

The Myth of Rainbows originated in the Middle Ages and was believed to connect the worlds of Heaven and Earth. The ancient gods of Asgard and the Norsemen believed that rainbows were bridges to the afterlife. These bridges were made from tricoloured arcs, or “Bifrost”. However, this bridge was only available to gods and those who were killed in battle. In the Norwegian myth, Ragnarok (German: Gotterdammerung), a massive storm destroyed the bridge. Throughout history, the myth has shaped our world’s consciousness.

Folklore

Whether you have grown up in a rain forest or a suburb with rainbows in your backyard, you may have heard about the relationship between rainbows and luck. These aren’t new concepts; they have deep roots in mythology and are a universal source of hope and wonder. In fact, it is not only the Irish who believe in the luck of the Irish leprechaun, but people from many cultures also consider rainbows to be a symbol of hope. Chinese folklore tells of a goddess who creates a rainbow from a collection of many-coloured stones. In the story of the rainbow, two lovers are brought together by the rainbow.

Size

When you observe a rainbow, you will often notice that its size appears to be different than the actual diameter of the circle. This is due to the optical illusion of perspective, where the rainbow appears smaller if it is near horizon features. In contrast, when the Sun is far above the horizon, the rainbow appears to be larger and vice versa. In this article, we’ll discuss how to determine the size of a rainbow.

Shape

You’ve probably heard that rainbows are circular, but the shape is actually bow-shaped. The full display is a circle, but the horizon cuts off the lower half. Water’s refraction properties make it bend light at an angle, which is the reason why rainbows appear as cones. But how do they come to be? Here are some interesting facts about rainbows. Read on to find out how these rainbows form and what causes them to look the way they do.

Angle of arc

The perfect arc shape of a rainbow is the result of refraction. Different colors of light bend at various angles in a rainbow. White light is made up of a spectrum of different colors with slightly different wavelengths. The resulting arc is bright and has an outer edge and a diffuse inner edge. But how do rainbows form? Using the scientific method called refraction, scientists have determined what causes these arcs to form.

Refractive index of water

The Refractive Index of Water (RIW) of a rainbow is a measure of the amount of light that is bent by a droplet. Light rays hitting a raindrop will deviate from the rays’ centerline/axis by a smaller amount than 180 degrees. This means that the primary rainbow arc will appear brighter than the surrounding ambient light. The refraction angles of different colours contribute to their unique brightness.