Naked Scientist: Why is a rainbow curved?

The physics behind a rainbow has been explained as a result of the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets but have you often wondered why it takes on the shape of a curve?

The Naked Scientist, Chris Smith explains the science behind the shape of this meteorological phenomenon.

White light coming from the sun is a mixture of different colors of light which when they all hit our eye together the experience we see is white, now when those light waves go into a rain drop because they different sizes or lengths of waves, they bend a bit.

Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

What's happening is when the light is coming out of the back surface of the raindrop, its coming out as a cone.

Chris Smith, The Naked Scientist

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This article first appeared on 702 : Naked Scientist: Why is a rainbow curved?


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