Ask a Question

Why is a rainbow curved?

+5 votes
asked Aug 12, 2012 in Science Topics by anonymous
recategorized Aug 13, 2012 by Drake Peters
   

1 Answer

+5 votes
It has to do with how a rainbow is formed. Sunlight passing through drops of water suspended in the air produces a rainbow, and water reflects light at a 40-42 degree angle. So when the light bounces down to us, we see it at a 138-140 degree angle. The reflected light, or rainbow, actually forms a circle -- but because of the horizon and the angle we see the light, we only see half or less of the circle.
answered Aug 29, 2013 by bbrown Inquisitive Expert (97,580 points)

Categories

ExplainPlease on Facebook

75,014 questions

48,874 answers

1,169 comments

84,223 users

CuriousGirl313,480
BobTheAnswerGuy310,070
smartguy111,120
charlie100,740
bbrown97,580
answerwiz94,860
The.Sage93,460
amanda0192,460
kfox83,500
lsmith82,840
...