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What is a rainbow?

Anna Bazarova
Anna Bazarova
January 25, 2015
What is a rainbow?

We all have repeatedly had to see such an amazing and fascinating natural phenomenon - a rainbow. How does it arise, due to which a huge seven-color arc appears in the sky? Let us consider in more detail the essence of the rainbow as an atmospheric and natural phenomenon.

What is a rainbow as a natural phenomenon?

Rainbow - one of the most beautiful natural phenomena, which is customary to observe after the rain. The rainbow is visible after rain, because the sun illuminates a lot of water droplets in the atmospheric layer of the Earth. The shape of a rainbow is a semicircle or arc made up of seven colors of the spectrum - a multicolored strip. The higher the point of observation of the rainbow, the fuller and richer it is: for example, from the height of the plane you can even see the full circle described by the rainbow. There is one natural pattern: when you observe a rainbow arc, the sun is always located behind your back.

How and why does a rainbow appear?

A rainbow is primarily a physical phenomenon, based on the interaction of light and water.Sunlight is refracted and reflected by water droplets that hover in the atmosphere. Drops in different ways reflect or divert light from themselves. An observer who stands with his back to the sun (source of light) sees in front of him a multicolored glow. It is nothing more than white light, decomposing into a spectrum of seven colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, blue, violet. But it should be noted that a rainbow, like many physical phenomena, has a peculiarity: seven colors are nothing but an optical illusion, in fact, the spectrum is continuous, and its colors smoothly pass into each other through many intermediate shades.

Colors of rainbow

The color spectrum of the rainbow is familiar to almost everyone thanks to the children's count "Every hunter wants to know where the pheasant is sitting." It is customary to speak of seven spectral colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, blue and violet. However, the number of colors perceived by the eye also depends on the culture of a particular people and era. Let's look at how different nations have seen rainbow colors.

  • For the Russian people, a rainbow is an arc of seven colors.
  • For the British and Americans, the rainbow is six colors, because blue and blue in English are the same color.
  • The Australian Aboriginal rainbow correlated with the six symbolic snakes.
  • Some African tribes emit only two rainbow colors, or rather, shades - light and dark.
  • The great ancient Greek philosopher Aristotle identified only three primary colors: red, purple and green, and their combinations, in his opinion, gave the other colors.

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