Eli5 what causes rainbows to appear?


Eli5 what causes rainbows to appear?

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Raining while the sun is shining. At least naturally. So you have to have the sun like, over to one side, and the rain on the other side of your visual sky. The sun light will shine through the water drops and cause a rainbow.

Neat huh?

They appear due to how light is reflected both by refraction and reflection. Generally, the presence of water facilitates this. However, while this makes them “appear”, they are created by the LGB community.

White light from the sun consists of all the colours of the rainbow mixed together. When the light bounces through a raindrop the colours leave at different angles [a bit like this](https://www.scienceabc.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/09/Light-through-prism.jpg). So depending on what angle the raindrop is between you and the sun determines which colour is going to get refracted in your direction. So when you’re looking at a rainbow, all the red parts are where the angle between you the raindrop and the sun match the angle red light is refracted at. And the green band is where the angles just right for how green light is refracted and so on. The rainbow forms a curve because if you take an angle (imagine a sort giant “L” shape) and fix one end at you, and one end at the sun, with the corner where the raindrop is, you can then rotate that giant L to get all the points that match that angle. And those points form a curve.

Also worth noting that because this angle is dependent on where you are standing, every rainbow is unique to the spot where you are. Someone standing somewhere else sees a slightly different rainbow.

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