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Weather Academy: DIY Rainbow

Weather Academy: Rainbow Experiment
Published: May. 15, 2022 at 4:39 PM CDT
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MONROE, La. (KNOE) - Last week on the Weather Academy, Sheena taught us all about how rainbows form and the key ingredients that we need in order to see them. This week we are going to be using those ingredients to create our own rainbows!

You’ll need:

  • A glass of water
  • A flashlight
  • A compact mirror

Steps:

  1. Set the glass of water on a table and place your compact mirror in the water. You want the mirror to be fully submerged and positioned at an angle.
  2. Turn out the lights! The darker you can get the room, the better.
  3. Shine the flashlight directly onto the mirror inside of the glass of water.
  4. Watch a rainbow appear on the wall next to the glass from the angle of your mirror. You can play around with a different angle of the mirror in the water, but less than 42 degrees will give you the best viewing

A rainbow is an optical phenomenon that appears as a band of colors in an arc, resulting from the refraction of the sun’s light rays by the rain. When the sun shines on the droplets of water in the atmosphere, a rainbow, as people see it, is formed.

A rainbow displays the colors red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, in that order. Its formation can also be caused by mist, dew, and spray. When light strikes the surface of a water drop, it changes speed, causing it to bend. It is refracted as it enters the water and then refracts again as it leaves the droplet. The outcome is light being reflected in varying angles, creating a rainbow.

Light travels in waves where the length of each would depend upon the color. When light retracts, the different colors refract and bend in different amounts as well. This is the reason why we see different colors in a spectrum when there is a rainbow.

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