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A rainbow is one of our atmosphere's most exquisite and marvelous creations; "one of the most spectacular light shows observed on earth" (Ahrens, 1998). When a person views a rainbow, they are getting a personal light show that no other person can see as they do. Humphreys points out that:
"Since the rainbow is a special distribution of colors (produced in a particular way) with reference to a definite point - the eye of the observer - and as no single distribution can be the same for two separate points, it follows that two observers do not, and cannot, see the same rainbow." (Humphreys, 1929).
Of course, a camera lens will record an image of a rainbow which can then be seen my many people (Lynds, 1995).
A rainbow is essentially made up of seven brilliant colors: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet; moreover, it is comprised of many coloration that the eyes cannot see. No painter can manufacture the colors of the rainbow, for they create color by mixing, but no mixing will give red, green, or purple. These are the colors of the rainbow, though between the red and the green an orange color is often seen (Aristotle, 350 BC). To understand how the awesome production of a rainbow occurs is a feat of physics and mathematics. The two most important ingredients are light and drops of water. The manner and position in which the light and water droplets transverse, and the reactions between the two, are complex formulas of nature. Additionally, certain circumstances make it possible for a rainbow to occur.
You cannot have a rainbow without some source of light. It is possible to create an artificial rainbow utilizing artificial light, but for this paper, I will only use instances and circumstances of naturally occurring light which produce naturally occurring rainbows. The sun is nature's primary source of rainbow creating light; however, occasionally, the light of the moon can produce a rainbow. For a lunar rainbow to occur the conditions have to be just right. The moon has to be a full moon, which only happens once a month. The light of a full moon is a faint light, so the lunar rainbow will never be as prominent as the solar rainbow. Additionally, the full moon has to be either rising or setting. A naval officer, V. E. Mikkelson, described his reaction when he learned that the spotlight he saw was actually a lunar rainbow:
The strange phenomenon I was viewing was a rainbow generated by moonlight! It was being formed by moonlight passing through rain trailing from one of the fluffy cumulus clouds. The rainbow was composed of the standard colors, but they were softer and paler than those generated by direct sunlight. They were what I can only describe as pastel. I was truly entranced. I have seen many of nature's beauties, but none have ever impressed me so powerfully (Mikkelson
Quotes talked about in this paper
Names referenced in this essay
Humphreys, V. E. Mikkelson, Lynds, Ahrens, E. W. Webster, Williams, B. T., House Aristotle, Wilkins,
Locations included in this essay
Meteorology, west, Europe, CA,
Companies talked about in this term paper
McGraw-Hill Book Co,
Keywords included in this term paper
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