Why is rainbow shaped semi-circle? What is the reason for it being colorful?

Passed on to children are the many amusing stories about rainbows, from what’s on the other side, to it having a pot of gold in the end or to it causing one’s finger cut off if pointed to, to it actually being a circle rather than an arch, to having a rainbow last for nine hours.

Some of these may have factual support, while others are just mere anecdotes and tales. However, there are still many questions revolving around rainbows that have not been answered yet. However, some have been solved and confirmed by Science.

So, no, you cannot find a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, and yes, the longest-lasting rainbow record is a time value of six hours. Yes, the rainbow is a circle, but only appears to look like an arch. But why? Why is the rainbow shaped like a semi-circle? Would you still love its beauty when it just looks like a straight line of colors?

It is said that the name “rainbow” was given to because of its shape. It looks very much like the bow used by archers when shooting arrows. People would only find this vibrant dash of colors across their single-hued sky when it was raining. Thus, the name “rainbow” was derived. (click here for more details) (click here for more details)

It’s vital to recall first how rainbows are present when sunlight passes through water droplets that are suspended in the atmosphere. It has to be sunny in one part of the sky and rainy on the other for a rainbow to appear. The sunlight comes in a droplet’s side, which is closer to the sun and bends because the refraction index of water is higher than that of air. This sunlight passing through the droplet then bounces off the droplet’s back surface and then travels to the other side. It bends again while passing its way out. (click here for more details)

All the water drop angles are just right to send sunlight to the viewers who see the rainbow from the ground. Thus, there are three characters in the rainbow’s story: the droplets, the viewer, and the sun (which angles at around 42 degrees). The droplets involved in the rainbow seen are those with an angle the same as the viewer. If the viewer decides to move around, another set of droplets is involved in producing a rainbow image. Rainbows are curved because the raindrops with the necessary angle between it and the viewers, the sun, and the viewers themselves lie on a cone pointing at the sun with the viewers at one tip. With the explanation and premise above, no two people can see an exactly similar rainbow. (click here for more details)

Another question frequently asked is about the rainbow being very colorful. The rainbow has the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. Each water drop involved acts like the prisms. Sunlight reflected onto prisms, or water drops are white light. This white light splits colors into its individual wavelengths.

When light passes through the droplet, the differences in the refractive index of air and the droplets cause the light to bend. For every wavelength of light is a different angle of bending. The color red has the longest wavelength while comparatively, blue and violet have shorter wavelengths. (click here for more details)

These are facts about rainbows. Additional things to know about rainbows are that historically, the Greeks and Romans believed that Iris, their rainbow goddess produced the path made by rainbows. There is such a thing as Double Rainbows, which are seen when the light bounces in the droplet more than once before passing outwards.

There is a song lyricizing on the musician’s wonder as to why there are so many songs about rainbows. Mark Lee of overthinking.com has narrowed it down and found 42 songs about rainbows, based on a dataset from the Billboard charts songs of 1890 to 2011.

(click here for more details)

Rainbows can be found across waterfalls cascading and even small sprinklers on the grass during a bright, sunny day. Rainbows have been a topic of many people’s heartfelt and uplifting conversations and a charm for people to smile at when driving across the avenue. In the end, when people learn more about rainbows, it can actually surprise them and add more colors in their monochromatic lives.