rainbows

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The techical details of rainbow formation were first analyzed by Sir Isaac Newton in 1665. His brilliant optics work concerning reflection and refraction certainly does not detract from the beauty and promise of the rainbow. On the contrary, Newton’s scientific insights show the moarvelous complexity of creation. The rainbow is a gracious pledge God will not destroy the earth a second time with a worldwide flood (Genesis 9: 11-17).

“I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of a covenant between me and the earth… Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.” (Genesis 9:13,15)

A rainbow occurs when raindrops and sunshine cross paths. Sunlight consists of all the colors of light, which add together to make white illumination. When sunlight enters water drops, it reflects off their inside surfaces. While passing through the droplets, he light also separates into its component colors, which is similar to the effect of a glass prism. Each falling water drop actually flashes its colors to the observer for just an instant, before another drop takes its place.

A rainbow is usually seen in the opposite direction in the sky from the sun. The rainbow light is reflected to the eye at an angle of 42° to the original ray of sunlight. The bow shape is actually part of a cone of light that is cut off by the horizon. If you travel toward the end of a rainbow, it will move ahead of you, maintaining its shape. Because the 42°  angle is measured form each individual’s eye, no two people see exactly the same rainbow.


The bright, primary rainbow has red on the outer edge and blue within. Higher in the sky there is always another, dimmer rainbow with the oder of colors reversed. This secondary rainbow results from additional sulight reflection through the raindrops. It is most visible when there are dark clouds behind it.

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3 Responses to “rainbows”

  1. blythe crow Says:

    I didn’t think that it was that far back that people started looking at rainbows!! I mean 1665 is pertty far back!!!

  2. queenbeestephanie Says:

    yep! it’s far! lol!

  3. morgan ham Says:

    I agree with Blythe. But still, I thought that started farther back.

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