I live the Pacific Northwest. It’s normal to get rain this time of year, but Portland has experienced some serious rain storms recently. Last week I was driving through a heavy spring rainstorm. The sky ahead of me was nearly black. Large water drops bombarded my car’s windshield, drowning out the newscaster reporting on the ongoing saga surrounding drag show legislation in our country.
All of a sudden, the clouds behind me opened. The late afternoon streamed through the gash in the storm, instantly transforming the sky in front of me. I caught my breath as a double rainbow flared into view fueled by the cloud break. The brilliant colors seemed to leap out from the dark sky and I stared in wonder at the natural light display.
Later that night, I reflected on the experience and how the rainbow presented a blinding contrast to the dark news I had been listening to. Rainbows are a beautiful and awe-inspiring sight, but there is some pretty cool science behind why we see them.
When sunlight hits a water droplet, it is refracted and separated into its component colors. The different colors of light are refracted at different angles, which is why we see them as a spectrum of colors. colors are then reflected back to our eyes, and we see a rainbow.
The visible light spectrum is the range of wavelengths that humans can see. It ranges from about 380 nanometers (nm) to 700 nm. The different colors of light correspond to different wavelengths of light. Violet light has the shortest wavelength and the highest energy. Red light is also the least scattered by the atmosphere, which is why it is the color that we see first when we look at a rainbow.
The properties of light are an important part of our understanding of the world around us. They help us to understand how light interacts with matter and how it can be used in different applications. Shorter wavelengths of light have more energy than longer wavelengths of light. This is why ultraviolet light can cause sunburns, while infrared light cannot. The different wavelengths of light also interact with matter in different ways. For example, ultraviolet light can cause DNA damage, while infrared light can be used to heat objects.
Rainbows remind us that even in the darkest of times, there is always beauty to be found. They are also a reminder of the power of nature and the beauty of the world around us. The diversity found in a rainbow is a reminder that there is beauty in all things. The different colors of light represent the different aspects of life, and the way that they come together to create a rainbow is a reminder that we are all connected. We are all part of something bigger than ourselves, and we all have something to offer the world.
The different properties of the different wavelengths of light are a reminder that we are all unique. We all have our own strengths and weaknesses, and we all have our own way of seeing the world. We should embrace our differences and celebrate the diversity that makes us who we are.
The news seems to daily remind us there is a subset of society seeking to homogenize the diversity that naturally occurs around us. While some may be attempting to create a monochrome society, we can choose to celebrate and empower the incredible beauty found in human diversity.
The next time you see a rainbow in the sky, on a flag or printed on a T-shirt, take a moment to appreciate the beauty and diversity it represents. Stop and wonder at the incredible beauty we find not only in the rainbow but in those around us.
- Rainbows are always curved because the light is refracted by water droplets in the atmosphere.
- Rainbows come in different shapes. The most common shape is a semi-circle, but rainbows can also be full circles or even elliptical depending on the angle of the sun and the water droplets in the atmosphere.
- The size of the rainbow depends on the size of the water droplets.
- Rainbows are always seen in the opposite direction of the sun.
- You can see a rainbow only when the sun is behind you and there is rain in front of you.
- The colors of a rainbow are always in the same order: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.
- The inner part of a rainbow is always brighter than the outer part.
- You can see a double rainbow if there are two sets of water droplets in the atmosphere.
- The second rainbow is always fainter than the first rainbow.
- The colors of the second rainbow are in reverse order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.
- You can see a triple rainbow if there are three sets of water droplets in the atmosphere.
- The third rainbow is always fainter than the second rainbow.
- The colors of the third rainbow are in the same order as the first rainbow.