Ice Formation by Space Science & Engineering Center

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Random Weather Facts

Rainbows occur when sunlight is reflected by raindrops. The raindrops act like a prism, breaking the light into the colors of a rainbow, with red on the outer edge, and blue on the inner edge. On occasion, the light is reflected from both the front and back of the raindrops and two rainbows are visible. The color bands in the second rainbow are opposite to those in the primary rainbow.

Rainbows can be seen when the sun is shining and the air contains water spray or raindrops. This condition occurs frequently during or immediately following showers. Rainbows are always observed in the portion of the sky opposite the sun. The sun, the observer's eye, and the center of the rainbow arc, always fall in a straight line. The colors of the rainbow are violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red.