Have you ever looked up after it rains and seen a rainbow? If you have then maybe you have asked yourself, what makes a rainbow? That is a very good question and you may be surprised by the answer.
What is a Rainbow?
Rainbows are an arc of colors that appear in the sky after rainfall. You have probably seen hundreds or rainbows already in your life as they are fairly common occurrences. Any time it rains you should be able to find a rainbow if it is clear enough. The reason you can almost always find a rainbow after it rains is because rainbows appear opposite of the sun after it rains and that is because the colors are the results of the sunlight refracting in drops of rain.
What Makes a Rainbow?
So what makes a rainbow? Well you must first have rain and then it must also be sunny out for you to have a rainbow. They are formed when sunlight is being refracted and dispersed in the drops of rain. This means that they sunlight is being reflected through rain drops and appear as an arc of colors opposite of the sun.
The Colors of the Rainbow
Rainbows occur when it is raining in one part of the sky and the sun is out in another. You have to have both of those factors for a rainbow to form. If the whole sky is cloudy and it has rained you likely will not see a rainbow. Rainbows are made up of seven different colors: Red Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet. Why are rainbows this color? The reason that these rainbows are these colors is because sunlight is made up of those colors! Sunlight appears as white light when you look at it, which is the color created when you mix all of the colors of the rainbow. So when sunlight travels through the air and enters a raindrop the colors get separated and you see a rainbow. A really neat fun fact is that it takes millions of raindrops to form a rainbow that we can see, but each individual raindrop makes its own smaller rainbow.
When a double rainbow forms it is due to sunlight being reflected twice inside of a raindrop. A secondary or double rainbow’s colors are reversed when compared to the first rainbow. This means that you would see violet on top of the double rainbow instead of red which you would see at the top of the first rainbow!