On the lighter side: What’s a rainbow? STGnews Photo Gallery

Rainbows over Washington County, Utah, Oct. 24, 2013 | John Teas, St. George News

ST. GEORGE –  The Rainbow: nature’s masterpiece of infinite color. Rainbows are actually quite predictable, really. If the sun is shining on your back and you are facing rain, fog or mist, then the chance of a rainbow developing is quite good.

Sunlight is refracted as it enters the top of a rain drop. It is then reflected back at you from the rear of the water droplet at a 40-42 degree angle. Simply put, the red light reflects around 42 degrees and blue light around 40 degrees. All the other colors are again refracted at slightly different angles between the red and blue spectrum as they exit the raindrop back at the viewer.

Light that is reflected below 40 degrees is basically white light that is made up of all the visible colors. This reflected white light brightens the sky below the blue color or on the blue side of the rainbow if it does not complete an arc.

Since a rainbow is an optical action of light refraction and reflection, it is not an object and cannot be physically approached. Generally speaking, the sun must be below 42 degrees, otherwise the rainbow will be below the horizon. That is why rainbows are more apparent in the morning and evening.

Interestingly, every rainbow is unique to each individual viewer. This is because two people cannot occupy the exact same viewing point. So when you see a rainbow, your vision is exclusively your own. While others can see the rainbow, only you can see “your” rainbow.

Ed. Note: St. George News photojournalist John Teas caught a couple of photos of Thursday evening’s rainbows over Washington County and shared them with the news staff, along with some insight into how rainbows are created.  Given how news can be a mixed-bag of the good, the bad, and the downright bewildering, here’s a little something to lighten up the day.

Other news staff and readers who happened to catch a shot of the rainbow also contributed to this gallery.

Click on photo to enlarge it, then use your left-right arrow keys to cycle through the gallery. 

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Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2013, all rights reserved.

Rainbows over Washington County, Utah, Oct. 24, 2013 | John Teas, St. George News

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1 Comment

  • Paul Bottino October 25, 2013 at 9:59 am

    Very nice photos John. I saw it too as I was driving east on Snow Canyon Parkway last night. I had to be careful, it kind of takes your attention off driving.

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