Rainbows are exquisite and rare. These beautifully arched, colorful formations are a visual treat. And they are almost magical, hypnotizing its viewers. While everyone is drawn to the splendid beauty of rainbows, the science behind rainbows is equally fascinating.
How is a Rainbow Formed?
Rainbow is an optical phenomenon, much like Lunar Halo. For rainbow to be seen, three conditions must be met:
- It should be raining
- Sun should be visible
- The observer/viewer must be in between the sun and rain
Rainbow is formed when sunlight is refracted that is bent while passing through the water droplets. The raindrops bend the light acting like tiny prisms, splitting white light of the sun into its individual, different colours.
White light is made of a combination of colours, the ones we refer to as VIBGYOR – the colours of rainbow. As sunlight passes through the water drops, it is bent at different angles, giving rise to the spectacular phenomenon of the rainbow.
24 Fun Rainbow Facts
1. The word rainbow comes from Latin word ‘Arcus Pluvius’, meaning rainy arch.
2. Rainbows are full circles of light. But since you observe them from the ground, you only see a semi-circle.
3. Just like the Lunar Halo, no two people see the rainbow the same way.
4. Some rainbows occur upside down and are referred to as ‘Smile Rainbows’. They occur when sunlight is refracted by tiny ice crystals.
5. Issac Newton was the first person to explain the occurrence of rainbows.
6. Rainbows can occur at night as well, though they are extremely rare. Rainbows occurring at night are called Moonbows.
7. The lower the Sun is in the sky, the higher will be the rainbow.
8. Earth is the only planet in the Solar System to observe the phenomenon of the rainbow.
9. Greeks believed that Rainbows connected heaven and Earth
10. Rainbows are difficult to form in winters and form more easily in summers, as during winter season water droplets freeze high up in the atmosphere.
11. Rainbows can be formed by mist, fog, spray and even dew.
12. Rainbows formed by fog, called fogbows, are much larger than those formed by raindrops.
13. Double rainbows also occur in the sky. They happen when light is refracted more than once by the water droplets.
14. Double Rainbows have their colours reversed. The outer rainbow is less bright and has red on the inside rather than the outside of the arch.
15. Sometimes light can be refracted multiple times within a water droplet, giving rise to tertiary and quaternary rainbows.
16. Rainbow cannot be touched or felt as it is an optical phenomenon.
17. Hawaii witnesses most rainbows than any other place on Earth.
18. The world’s longest-lasting rainbow was seen over Sheffield, England on March 14, 1994.
19. You cannot see the end of the rainbow.
20. Rainbows are regarded as Universal symbols of Peace and Harmony.
21. Red Rainbow also known as a Monochrome Rainbow is an extremely rare variation of rainbow that occurs at sunset or sunrise.
22. Saturn’s moon, Titan, with its moist atmosphere has the perfect condition to form a rainbow.
23. Rainbows are considered to be lucky and symbolise hope.
24. It is believed that rainbows have relaxing and healing qualities.
Nature is abundant with rainbow colours. The colours of rainbow are bestowed on some of the most wonderful, exquisite creatures in the natural world. These animals mimic some of the most beautiful colour combinations and appear to have taken some serious inspiration from rainbow.
Rainbow Coloured Animals
1. Rainbow Leaf Beetle
Hands down the most beautiful beetle you will ever see, Rainbow Leaf beetle is found across Eurasia and is extremely rare. Its stunning rainbow colours make it one of the most beautiful insects.
2. Wattle Cup Caterpillar
Another colourful creature has quite many rainbow colours though not all. Nonetheless, it does remind us of VIBGYOR.
3. Rainbow Fly
These flies shine a bright spectrum of rainbow colours when looked up close.
4. Rainbow Lorikeets
These lorikeets certainly pack a lot of colours and are a bird watcher’s true delight.
5. Cortez Rainbow Wrasse
When talking about colours in the natural world, oceans cannot be far behind. This fish packs beautiful rainbow colours.
6. Gouldian Finches
These pretty finches are quite rare and difficult to spot. Consider yourself lucky to spot one in nature.
7. Red Eyed Tree Frog
Not equipped with all rainbow colours but certainly one of the most colourful frogs you would see.
While the above animals are naturally bestowed with gamut of rainbow colours, not all animals are so lucky. But a few can change colours to adapt to their environments and stay hidden from predator (and prey).
Colour Changing Animals
One of the most popular of the colour changing animals, chameleons are the masters of disguise. They quickly adapt to their surroundings by changing their colour and blending in the environment.
2. Golden Tortoise Beetle
These beetles change colour when agitated or while mating. They quickly change their colour from gold to bright red.
3. Pacific Tree Frog
These amphibians can quickly change colour to blend in their surroundings to protect themselves from predators.
4. Thorny Seahorse
These seahorses are expert at changing colours. They change their colour for various reasons from frightening predators to attracting mates.
5. Crab Spiders
These are one of a few arachnids that can change colour to match the flower they are sitting on. Hard to spot, they are great at camouflaging.
6. Mimic Octopus
These amazing creatures change their body colour to mimic other sea creatures.
7. Peacock Flounders
These sea creatures quickly adapt to their surrounding by changing their colour and pattern on their body.
Yet another sea creature which can quickly change its colour and pattern to match the environment.
These marine cephalopods change colour to escape predators as well as to hunt.
10. Rock Goby
This small fish is a master of camouflage and quickly changes its colour to escape from predators.
24 Rainbow Stories for Kids
Spark joy of reading with these lovely stories about rainbows. Full of wonder and delight, these rainbow books are sure to get your children happy and bright.
This is a beautiful, heartwarming story about Elmer the elephant who decides to give his colours to the rainbow. A great book about rainbows and sharing, this is a must read.
A lovely book by Dolly Parton, this one deals with rainbow feelings you experience. This one must have to build emotional acumen.
This beautiful, eye-catching book will mesmerise your kids while delivering a strong message on how to make friends.
Teach your children why change is only constant and an essential part of life with this lovely story about a chameleon that changes colours to adapt and thus grow.
Read about a greedy rainbow and how its greed affects the rest of the jungle. This is a story your children will surely love.
6. Why Do We See Rainbow?
Delve into the science of rainbow with your kids and explore in detail how rainbow is formed with this enlightening read.
This is a great book to teach the value of perseverance and teamwork to your kids. Find out how crayons come to rescue when sun and clouds get into a fight.
8. I Can See a Rainbow
Explore the rainbow colours of the animal kingdom with this beautiful, stunning board book.
Enchant your children yet again with another lovely title from Maisy. This book will take your children on adventure as Maisy dreams of a Rainbow land.
This is a lovely story that will surely delight your kids and teach them great lessons about family values.
11. Esther’s Rainbow
Suited for a younger audience, this book teaches colours of the rainbow and days of the week through a cheerful storyline.
Just like the title, this book spells magic on its readers through its imaginative and beautiful story.
13. Rainbow Bird
An Aboriginal Folktale From Northern Australia – This is quite a tale about a crocodile man and a bird woman. Suited for an older audience, it is a lovely folklore.
14. The Straight Rainbow
Targeted at the younger audience, this book teaches the significance of being unique and yet finding your own lovely spot in the scene of things.
This is a great story about the Sky’s housekeeper and how she ends up wearing all her scarves the same day to create an enchanting rainbow.
This is a magical book that children and even adults will love. Read to find out why the rainbow is getting shorter and what must be done to save it.
17. Two Rainbows
This is a stirring story of a girl who moves to places and how she discovers that beauty surrounds us everywhere we live.
18. The Rainbow Bear
This is a story about a polar bear who is bored of his colour and white surroundings. He dreams of soaking the rainbow colours but finds himself in a catch. A beautifully illustrated book, this one is quite a prize.
19. Ned’s Rainbow
This is a touching tale of a boy named Ned and his discovery. Suited for younger audiences who have just progressed over board books.
Read this book to find out what will make the tiny mouse, who loves all weathers but rain, come out of its hole on a rainy day.
This fun-filled book about Geckos will make your little ones squeal in delight. A great book for little kids who are just learning to recognise colours.
22. Chasing Rainbows (Dr. Seuss/Cat in the Hat)
Another classic from Dr. Suess, this book will take your kids on rainbow exploration. Packed with facts and humour, this book is our personal favourite.
23. The Rainbow and You
Join hands with Rainbow patrol and discover the magical secrets of the rainbow. Equipped with cultural facts and knowledge, this book will help your kids understand the significance of rainbows across cultures.
How about having your own personal rainbow? That’s the idea behind this book. The story unfolds around a boywho dreams of having a rainbow of his own.