December 12, 2020
A rainbow is a symbol of beauty, hope, optimism, pride, completeness and promise.
The rainbow displays the visible spectrum of light. All the beautiful colors we see and love are shown in the reflection, refraction and dispersion of light from the sun.
Sunlight enters water droplets at a 42° angle, is refracted (bent) toward the back of the drop and reflected back toward the sun where it is again bent as it exits the drop. Because different colors bend at slightly different angles a circular band of colors is projected toward the viewer of the rainbow.
The viewing angle usually produces a half circle rainbow. If viewing at a high enough angle where the ground drops away toward the rainbow, such as during skydiving, the rainbow is a complete circle.
You can remember the colors of a rainbow by remembering the name
“ROY G. BIV.” From top to bottom this stands for Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet.
All rainbows are double rainbows. Sometimes the second, fainter rainbow can be seen above the primary rainbow. This is the result of light reflecting twice inside the water droplets. The exit angle is slightly higher. A mirror effect inside the droplets causes the order of the colors to be reversed:
“VIB G. YOR” (Roy’s crazy half sister).
God created rainbows as a promise never to destroy the Earth with flood again.
- I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.
- Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds,
- I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life.
God – Genesis 9
A Rainbow is also a promise of good weather to come since the sky must be clear of clouds between the sun and the rainbow.
There is a pot of gold at the end of every rainbow. Science will tell us that it is impossible to stand at the end of a rainbow since it is an optical illusion. Ask a leprechaun about this next time you speak with one.
Somewhere over the rainbow is a magical land of witches and wizards. Don’t forget your silver slippers when traveling to OZ or L. Frank Baum will not be able to return you to Kansas.
“The Silver Shoes,” said the Good Witch, “have wonderful powers. And one of the most curious things about them is that they can carry you to any place in the world in three steps, and each step will be made in the wink of an eye. All you have to do is to knock the heels together three times and command the shoes to carry you wherever you wish to go.”
L. Frank Baum – The Wonderful Wizard of Oz
Rainbows are the subject of many songs.
Children know Kermit the Frog’s “Rainbow Connection.”
Everyone knows Judy Garland’s “Somewhere Over the Rainbow.”
A favorite of mine is “Catch the Rainbow” by the rock group Rainbow (1975).
Rainbows are symbolic.
Apple Computer used the rainbow in its logo to show playfulness and the color capabilities of their computer. The colors appear in the correct rainbow order, but are split up to put green on top where the leaf is.
The LGBTQ flag is a rainbow to symbolize pride and inclusion. Originally the flag also included the colors pink and turquoise.
Peace and Freedom were symbolized by the rainbow in the Peace marches of the 60s.
The Rainbow Bar and Grill on the Sunset Strip was named after this movement.
Today one can see children’s drawings of rainbows in windows of homes locked down by the pandemic.
They are symbols of faith and hope of better days to come.