Skip to main content

Rainbows and Fun Facts About Them

Margaret Minnicks has been writing for HubPages for a long time. She is an expert about a variety of subjects she writes about.

A beautiful rainbow

A beautiful rainbow

Everyone loves to see a beautiful rainbow in the sky that usually follows a storm. However, there is so much about rainbows that most people don't know. Once they know some of the interesting things, they will appreciate that great wonder even more.

Most people think rainbows appear only after a storm. That is not entirely true. Rainbows can appear at other times as well. For instance, they can be seen when it is foggy, around sea sprays, and in waterfalls as well as in the sky.

Colors of the Rainbow: ROYGBIV

I learned the colors of the rainbow in the proper order during a home economics course when I was a freshman in high school. I share that information with others every chance I get because it is such an easy way to remember the colors without fail.

Think of ROYGBIV. It is not a person. Instead, it is made up of the first letter of each color that is in the rainbow. By now, you have probably guessed the colors in order are Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo, and Violet.

A rainbow has many more colors than those listed above. However, the human eye can detect only seven.



What You See and What You Don't See

There are scientific reasons for rainbows, and they all involve raindrops and some source of light. Without those two combinations, there would be no rainbow. The colors are made by light striking water droplets.

A rainbow is an optical illusion. That means what you see is not what actually exists. What observers see in the sky depends on where they are standing and where the sun is shining. In fact, the sun is always behind a person when he sees a rainbow.

Scroll to Continue

Rainbows can be full circles even though people see only an arc that has been formed by droplets above the ground. No one can see the entire rainbow from the ground. However, observers on an aircraft can sometimes see the entire circular rainbow.

It is interesting that viewers on the ground can see the light reflected by raindrops above the horizon. All people do not see the same rainbow because everyone has a different horizon.

Double Rainbow

Double Rainbow

A Double Rainbow

Many people believe that they will be blessed if they see a rainbow after it rains, especially if they see a double rainbow which is not a common occurrence. Usually, the second rainbow is not as pronounced as the primary one as seen in the photo above.

When a double rainbow is seen, it is because there is a second arc outside the primary arc. That means light is reflected twice inside a raindrop. When that happens, the colors appear faint in reverse order. ROYGBIV no longer applies. Red is no longer first and violet is no longer last. Red is seen in the inner section of the arc and violet is on the outside.

The Biblical Rainbow

There are many references about the rainbow in the Bible. We learn from Genesis Chapters 7-9 that God called Noah to build an ark at the time when it did not rain from above as it does today. The rain came up from the ground. Noah trusted God and built the ark even though he was ridiculed by others. Soon after Noah had finished building the ark, it rained not a little from above. Instead, it rained for forty days and for forty nights, and the earth was destroyed by water.

Only Noah and his family of eight and two of each animal survived the flood because they were inside the big ark that Noah built just the way
God instructed. After the water subsided, God made a covenant with Noah that He would not destroy the earth by water again. God put a rainbow in the sky as a reminder of that promise, according to Genesis 9:13. God said, "I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth."

Rainbow Around God's Throne

Another very powerful reference to the rainbow in the Bible is found in Revelation 4:3. While we see a stationary rainbow, there is a rainbow circling around the throne of God. In other words, the rainbow around God's throne is much different from the rainbow we see in the sky because it goes round and round.

  • The rainbow around God's throne is a complete circle. We can see only half of it in the shape of an arc.
  • The rainbow circles God's throne instead of standing still as we see it.
  • The rainbow around God's throne is like an emerald instead of the various colors that we see on the rainbow in the sky.

Rainbow Myths

There are many myths and legends about the rainbow. The Irish legend about a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow is perhaps the most popular myth. The story is told that the gold is guarded by a tricky leprechaun. No one has ever found the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow because there is no end to a rainbow.

Related Articles