Have you ever wondered what made a rainbow appear? If so, then you're not alone. Millions of people all over the world wonder the same thing every day. While it may seem very complicated, understanding the science behind it can make it a little bit easier to appreciate it. Here's how the rainbow is formed and everything you need to know about it in order to show the rainbow in your own photos.
Understanding what causes a rainbow to appear is an important first step when trying to understand the beauty of this natural phenomenon. A rainbow is actually a mathematical meteorological event which is caused by refraction, reflection and dispersion of light from water droplets into the atmosphere. It usually takes the shape of a circle with a dot on its circumference. Light coming from any direction will always enter the middle of the dot in succession until the light finally escapes back out again. This is what gives the rainbow its distinctive shape.
One of the most popular theories as to why rainbows occur is a process called “cavitation.” Basically, when light enters a water droplet, some of it will go through the opaque side while some will pass through the transparent side. After entering the water droplet, the other light waves will cause the light to be absorbed and become the primary rainbow color. This is the theory that is taught in schools across the country. While it is an interesting theory, there are several alternative explanations for the formation of rainbows including corona discharge and scattered light.
There is a great deal of evidence which suggests that a rainbow is formed by something more complex than simple dispersion and Corning's glass. For example, scientists have discovered that when light enters and exit raindrops, some of the light will be absorbed and be reflected. It has been found that the angles in which the light rays enter and exit the water droplet can help determine the rainbow colors. For instance, the theory states that the light rays must exit in certain angles in order to create the reds, greens and blues. It also says that if the light rays were all headed in one straight line, they would be green, red and blue and we all know that isn't the case.
The theory says that when the light enters and leaves a water droplet, the angles it makes with the sides of the droplet are what determines the color. However, this hasn't been proved yet. Most experts agree that if the theory holds true, then most likely the rainbow we see is not created by anything more complex than a dispersion effect caused by the entrance and exit angles of the water droplets. Therefore, there is no way to determine if the rainbow we see is a result of something more complex than dispersion.
When people go to see rainbows, they usually look at the different colors and choose the one they like. In most cases, the person who creates the rainbow is sitting nearby. Some see the rainbow in their yard, others get it from a far away while others see it on TV or from a satellite orbiting the earth. Some even use a hand held device to magnify and view the rainbow at any given moment.
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