Common myths are associated with Rainbows, are they actually true?

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Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is an author with her own identity as an individual. She has her own perspectives regarding various things. She loves to express her thinking, so a little bit of herself comes naturally in her writings too. She is the author of Six Hindi Literature books out of which two have been awarded.

We all like rainbows and we admire watching them. Rainbows are beautiful. It almost magically appears on the horizon, a delicate burst of colour gently washed across the sky. We love rainbows so much that often we stop what we are doing and just Stare. Rainbows have the ability to bring joy to just about anyone. We often come across many myths people have on rainbows. Let us discuss some of the myths of the rainbows.

  • First Myths of the Rainbows  – Rainbows Form Perfect Arcs

When we see, Rainbows appear to form perfectly rounded arches. But actually, rainbows form full circles. We can’t see the full circle of Rainbows. we can only see the light that’s reflected by raindrops above the horizon. Thus, we can’t see a rainbow’s lower, hidden half. If you’re a pilot or passenger in an aeroplane or helicopter there is a chance you might see a rainbow as a full circle. People sometimes climb tall mountains to view circular rainbows.

  • Second Myths of the Rainbows – Rainbows contain seven colours.
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We all think and have been reading in books that Rainbows contain seven colours – Red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. But actually, Rainbows contain many colours than these. They are not visible actually. These seven colours are the visible spectrum. Red has the longest wavelength and violet the shortest. Other colours like Pink, Brown etc are also there in Rainbows but they’re just invisible. Rainbows contain around 1 million colours. Unfortunately, our human peepers can’t see all of those other hues.

  • Third Myths of the Rainbows – Everyone Sees the Same Rainbow

This is again a myth. No two people can see the exact same rainbow. The reason is simple. When you’re looking at a rainbow, you’re looking at light that is reflected by raindrops sitting above the horizon. But your horizon is always different from everyone else’s and vice versa. To put it a little differently, the centre of the rainbow arc you’re seeing sits on an imaginary line stretching from your eye to the sun. Since your eyes and those of someone else’s, even someone next to you, can’t be in the same place in space simultaneously, the two of you can never see the same rainbow.

  • Fourth Myths of the Rainbows – Rainbows Only Appear With Rain

These Are Common Myths of the Rainbows - Rainbows at night
Rainbows at night

Many of us believe that Rainbow appears only with Rain. The theory for many people is that for a rainbow to be formed, there need to be water droplets in the air. Then, light has to shine through those droplets at just the right angle.

But water droplets can be in the air for many other reasons. When it’s misty outside or when there’s overspray from like a waterfall or waves crashing against rocks or in foggy weather. No matter what the source of the water droplets in the air, If the setting is perfect, the sun has the proper angle, you can see the rainbow even without Rain.

  • Fifth Myths of the Rainbows – Rainbows appear only during the day

People think Rainbows don’t appear in the night but that’s not completely true. Rainbows can actually occur at night too. An evening rainbow is called a moonbow, or lunar rainbow. Moonbows are created when light reflected by the moon hits water droplets in the air. Before you think a moonbow can’t be a rainbow if it’s made from water and moonlight (not sunlight), remember that moonlight is actually reflected sunlight; the moon doesn’t give off any light.



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