Can You Ever Reach the End of a Rainbow?

Everyone would like to get rich quick, but if that's your dream, forget about finding a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow, because... there isn't an end. A rainbow is actually a circle, not an arc; we just usually can't see all of it. The Earth's horizon blocks the bottom half of the meteorological magic from normal view. But all is not lost. If both you and the sun are in the right place, you might just get a glimpse of a full-circle rainbow -- or at least most of it. For starters, the sun needs to be low in the sky. The lower it is, the higher the peak of the rainbow will be, and the more of it you'll see. And if you can get up on a mountaintop -- or maybe hop aboard a plane -- you'll see more of the bottom as well. If all goes well, you might just see the entire circle; the pot of gold, of course, will remain out of reach.

Coloring your world:

  • Earth is the only planet with rainbows, as no other planet has the necessary water on its surface or in its atmosphere to form one.

  • Rainbows that look all red can occur when the sun is low in the sky; the shorter-wavelength colors blue and green are scattered in the atmosphere.

  • The longest-lasting rainbow on record could be seen for nearly nine hours in northern Taiwan in 2017.

More Info: EarthSky

Discussion Comments


Is it true that if it is about to rain and a rainbow appears in the sky, then it will not rain?

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