A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a (nearly) continuous spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the sun shines onto falling rain. It is a multicoloured arc with red on the outside and violet on the inside; the full sequence is red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. See also the Colour article for information on the rainbow spectrum of colour. The rainbow effect can be observed whenever there are water drops in the air and sunlight shining from behind the observer at a low altitude or angle. The most spectacular rainbow displays when half of the sky is still dark with draining clouds and the observer is at a spot with clear sky overhead. Another common place to see the rainbow effect is near waterfalls. Rainbow fringes can sometimes be seen at the edges of backlit clouds and as vertical bands in distant rain or virga. The effect can also be artificially created by dispersing water droplets into the air during a sunny day.














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In a very few cases, a moonbow, or night-time rainbow, can be seen on strongly-moonlit nights. As human visual perception for colour in low light is poor, moonbows are perceived to be white. The rainbow's appearance is caused by dispersion of sunlight as it is refracted by (approximately spherical) raindrops. The light is first refracted as it enters the surface of the raindrop, reflects off the back of the drop, and is again refracted as it leaves the drop. The overall effect is that the incoming light is reflected back over a wide range of angles, with the most intense light at an angle of about 40°–42°, regardless of the size of the drop.

Above Images Are From The NOAA



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