The Art of Rainbows

By: Michael Everett

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What make rainbows an art: Many paintings and albums (images 2 and 3) depict rainbows as art rainbows have always been known for their beauty, but what i really believe makes a rainbow an art is that no one can see the exact same rainbow that you see. Making the beautiful rainbow unique to you and you alone because a rainbow is relative to your position.

The physics behind rainbows: Most people know you can't ever get to the end of the rainbow to find that gold at the end of it, but why is it that you are unable to get to the end of a rainbow? This is because all you are seeing is light that is being refracted by the raindrops, and since the water is a different median, it causes the light to separate into ROYGBIV because of the speed change. The reason this illusion cannot get any closer is because the raindrops will only reflect a rainbow from somewhere in the neighborhood 40-42 degrees relative to the sun and you position as shown by image 4. So as you change your position the section of raindrops that was providing the old rainbow changes to a different section, changing the origin of your rainbow making every rainbow unique. But your probably wondering if you could see some kind of a reverse rainbow like one that looks like a U, well you can, but you must get up very high. Actually it possible to see a 360 degree rainbow kind of like the one that is shown in image 1 and 5. The color all comes from those little raindrops, the idea of where a rainbow comes from is almost as cool as a rainbow itself. You can actually get the same colors found in a rainbow by running light through a pyramid as shown in image 3 which uses the idea refraction similar to how a rainbow works and the change in median that causes the light to spread out.




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Technology: A rainbow itself has no real use for technology, however the principle that rainbows are built on, refraction, has many applications in technology, for example, many things in this day and age require a lens well a lens is just a piece of glass used to refract light whether it is for a telescope or a camera, both rely on the refraction of light to work properly for things like zoom.
History: Often in paintings dealing with Noah's Arc you will see rainbows to depict the storm that has just passed. Rainbows themselves however have been around as long as rain itself.
Social Impact: A rainbow is often seen as a symbol of hopefulness or salvation because they occur at the end of a hard rain or a terrible storm. Also the rainbow has been adopted as a symbol of gay pride where each color represents a different value of the gay community such as red symbolizing life and violet for spirit.



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