Rainbows Appear as Arcs of Colour

$0.00

Description

Rainbows Appear as Arcs of Colour

TRY SOME QUICK QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS TO GET STARTED
Yes! A rainbow can form a complete circle when seen from a plane.
Rainbow colours are spectral colours. Every rainbow colour is produced by a single wavelength of light.
Rainbows produce spectral colours as sunlight is refracted by raindrops.
Yes! If droplets are large, 1 millimetre or more in diameter, red, green, and violet are bright but blue is hardly visible.

About the Diagram

An overview of rainbows

An atmospheric rainbow is an arc or circle of spectral colours and appears in the sky when an observer is in the presence of strong sunshine and rain.

  • Atmospheric rainbows:
    • Are caused by sunlight reflecting, refracting and dispersing inside raindrops before being seen by an observer.
    • Appear in the section of the sky directly opposite the Sun from the point of view of an observer.
    • Become visible when millions of raindrops reproduce the same optical effects.
  • Atmospheric rainbows often appear as a shower of rain is approaching, or has just passed over. The falling raindrops form a curtain on which sunlight falls.
  • To see an atmospheric rainbow, the rain must be in front of the observer and the Sun must be in the opposite direction, at their back.
  • A rainbow can form a complete circle when seen from a plane, but from the ground, an observer usually sees the upper half of the circle with the sky as a backdrop.
  • Rainbows are curved because light is reflected, refracted and dispersed symmetrically around their centre-point.
  • The centre-point of a rainbow is sometimes called the anti-solar point. ‘Anti’, because it is opposite the Sun with respect to the observer.
  • An imaginary straight line can always be drawn that passes through the Sun, the eyes of an observer and the anti-solar point – the geometric centre of a rainbow.
  • A section of a rainbow can easily disappear if anything gets in the way and forms a shadow. Hills, trees, buildings and even the shadow of an observer can cause a portion of a rainbow to vanish.
  • Not all rainbows are ‘atmospheric’. They can be produced by waterfalls, lawn sprinklers and anything else that creates a fine spray of water droplets in the right conditions.
About the diagram
  • This diagram shows an observer looking up towards a curtain of rain as parallel rays of incident white light from the Sun are reflected back towards them.
  • The observer sees the rainbow because of the combined effects of refraction, reflection and dispersion of light within each raindrop.
  • In this primary rainbow, the observer sees bands of colour stacked one above the other with red at the top and violet at the bottom.
  • The raindrops are all of a similar size and shape and are falling across the observer’s field of view.
  • As raindrops pass a point that is at 42.20 from the axis they appear red. As they continue to fall each one changes colour, first to orange then yellow, green, blue and finally at 400, violet.
  • Each colour of visible light corresponds with a different wavelength but instead of seeing a smooth and continuous range of colours the observer can see distinct bands of colour.
  • Bands of colour result from the fact that the human eye perceives some colours more strongly than others.
Rainbows and light

Rainbows result from light encountering raindrops in the presence of an observer. The phenomenon of rainbows offers many clues as to the nature of light.

  • Light is a form of radiation, a type of energy that travels in the form of electromagnetic waves and can also be described as a flow of particle-like ‘wave-packets’, called photons.
  • Radiation, electromagnetic waves and photons are all concepts that are interchangeable with the more general concept of light.
Theories of light

There are four principal theories that underpin our understanding of the physical properties of light as it relates to rainbows:

  • Wave theory – the idea that light is transmitted from luminous bodies in an undulatory wave-like motion.
  • Particle theory – the idea that the constitution and properties of light can be described in terms of the interactions of elementary particles.
  • Electromagnetic theory – the classical theory of electromagnetism that describes light as coupled electric and magnetic fields, transporting energy as it propagates through space as a wave. The energy is stored in its electric and magnetic fields and can be measured in terms of its intensity.
  • Quantum theory – explains the interactions of light with matter (atoms, molecules etc.) and describes light as consisting of discrete packets of energy,  photons. Quantum physics suggests that electromagnetic radiation behaves more like a classical wave at lower frequencies and more like a classical particle at higher frequencies, but never completely loses all the qualities of one or the other.
These theories tell us things about the properties of light
  • Light is electromagnetic radiation, the force carrier of radiant energy.
  • Whilst it carries energy and has momentum, light has no mass and so is not matter.
  • Light is the result of the interaction and oscillation of electric and magnetic fields.
  • Light is a microscopic phenomenon that needs macroscopic metaphors such as waves and particles to describe it.
  • Once emitted at its source, light can propagate indefinitely through a vacuum in a straight line at the speed of light (299,792,458 metres a second) but can be deflected by gravity.
  • In any specific instance, light can be described in terms of the inter-relationship of its wavelength, frequency and energy.
  • Light slows down and is deflected as it propagates through air, water, glass and other transparent media as photons interact with matter.
Phenomena associated with light include:
Some facts about electromagnetic waves
  • An electromagnetic wave carries electromagnetic radiation.
  • Electromagnetic radiation is measured in terms of the amount of electromagnetic energy carried by an electromagnetic wave.
  • Electromagnetic waves can be imagined as synchronised oscillations of electric and magnetic fields propagating at the speed of light in a vacuum.
  • The kinetic energy carried by electromagnetic waves is often simply called radiant energy or light.
  • Electromagnetic waves are similar to other types of waves in so far as they can be measured in terms of wavelength, frequency and amplitude.
  • Other terms for the amplitude of light are intensity and brightness.
  • Another term for the speed at which light travels is its velocity.
  • We can feel electromagnetic waves release energy when sunlight warms our skin.
  • The position of an electromagnetic wave within the electromagnetic spectrum can be identified by its frequency, wavelength or energy.
Some facts about photons
  • Photons are the elementary building blocks and so the smallest unit used to describe light.
  • Photons are the carriers of electromagnetic force and travel in harmonic waves.
  • Photons are zero mass bosons.
  • Photons have no electric charge.
  • The amount of energy a photon carries can make it behave like a wave or a particle. This is called the “wave-particle duality” of light.
Facts about the electromagnetic spectrum
  • Visible light is just one tiny part of the electromagnetic spectrum.
  • Our eyes only respond to the visible light which we see as colours between red and violet.
  • The electromagnetic spectrum includes, in order of increasing frequency and decreasing wavelength: radio waves, microwaves, infrared radiation, visible light, ultraviolet radiation, X-rays and gamma rays.
  • The size of the longest wavelengths is unknown but the shortest is believed to be in the vicinity of the Planck length (approximately 1.6 x 1035 meters).

Some key terms

Sun

The Sun is the star at the centre of our solar system. The energy emitted by the Sun is called ...

Bands of colour

An observer perceives bands of colour when visible light separates into its component wavelengths and the human eye distinguishes between ...

Observer

A human observer is a person who engages in observation by watching things. In the presence of visible light, an ...

Visible spectrum

The visible part of the electromagnetic spectrum is called the visible spectrum. The visible spectrum is the range of wavelengths ...

Diagrams are free to download

Downloads: Slides or Illustrations


DOWNLOAD DIAGRAMS
  • SLIDES are optimized for viewing on-screen.
  • ILLUSTRATIONS are optimized for printing on A4 pages in portrait format.
SLIDES
  • Slides are available in JPG and AI (Adobe Illustrator) file formats.
  • Titles: Slides have titles.
  • Backgrounds: Black.
  • Size: 1686 x 1124 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
ILLUSTRATIONS
  • Illustrations are available in JPG and AI two file formats.
  • Titles: No titles.
  • Backgrounds: White.
  • Size: 1686 x 1124 (3:2 aspect ratio). So all illustrations reproduce at the same scale when inserted into Word documents etc.
  • Labels: Calibri 24pt Italic.

File formats: JPG & AI


DOWNLOAD THE DIAGRAM ON THIS PAGE AS A JPG FILE
  • JPG (JPEG) diagrams are 1686 x 1124 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
  • If a JPG diagram doesn’t fit your needs, you can download it as an AI (Adobe Illustrator) file and edit it yourself.
  • JPG files can be placed or pasted directly into MS Office documents.
DOWNLOAD THE DIAGRAM ON THIS PAGE AS AN AI file
  • All AI (Adobe Illustrator) diagrams are 1686 x 1124 pixels (3:2 aspect ratio).
  • All our diagrams are created in Adobe Illustrator as vector drawings.
  • Save as or export AI files to other formats including PDF (.pdf), PNG (.png), JPG (.jpeg) and SVG(.svg) etc.

Spelling: UK & US


We use English (UK) spelling by default here at lightcolourvision.org.

COPY & PASTING TEXT
  • After copy/pasting text please do a spell-check to change our spelling to match your own document.
DOWNLOAD DIAGRAMS
  • Download AI versions of diagrams to change the spelling or language used for titles, labels etc.
  • We are adding American English (US) versions of diagrams on request. Just contact us and let us know what you need.
  • When downloading JPG versions of diagrams, look out for JPG (UK) or JPG (US) in the download dialogue box.

Download agreement


DOWNLOAD AGREEMENT

Light, Colour, Vision & How To See More (https://lightcolourvision.org) : Copyright © 2015-2022 : MediaStudies Trust.

Unless stated otherwise the author of all images and written content on lightcolourvision.org is Ric Mann.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

No part of this website may be copied, displayed, extracted, reproduced, utilised, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical or otherwise including but not limited to photocopying, recording, or scanning without the prior written permission of MediaStudies Trust.

EXCEPTIONS

Exceptions to the above statement are made for personal, educational and non-profit purposes:

Before downloading, cutting and pasting or reproducing any information, images or other assets found on lightcolourvision.org we ask you to agree to the following terms:

  1. All information, images and other assets displayed and made available for download on the lightcolourvision.org website are copyright. This means there are limitations on how they can be used.
  2. All information, images and other assets displayed or made available for download are solely and exclusively to be used for personal, educational and non-profit purposes.
  3. When you find the resources you need, then part of the download process involves you (the user) ticking a box to let us (at lightcolourvision.org) know we both agree on how the material can be used.
  4. Please contact kiaora.lightcolourvision@gmail.com before considering any use not covered by the terms of the agreement above.

The copyright to all information, images and all other assets (unless otherwise stated) belongs to:

The Trustees. MediaStudies Trust
111 Lynbrooke Avenue
Blockhouse Bay
Auckland 0600
New Zealand
kiaora.lightcolourvision@gmail.com

We love feedback

Your name and email address will be used solely to provide you with information you have specifically requested. See our privacy policy at https://lightcolourvision.org/privacy/.


We welcome your feedback 🙂









    Note: The feedback form records the URL of the current page


    Thank you so much for your time and effort