Fountain Hills Rainbow

April 18, 2005


Provided and copyright by: Rick Scott
Summary authors & editors: Rick Scott

Rainbows are always a welcome sight, and at the end of this one in the central park of Fountain Hills, Arizona, a fountain is found instead of the proverbial pot of gold. Actually, this rainbow exists because of the water spray from the fountain, which can shoot water as high as 560 feet (171 m), but normally operates at around 300 feet (91 m). Of course for the bow to be observed, the Sun had to be directly behind the photographer. This photo was taken at 3:05 p.m. (Mountain Standard Time) on November 13, 2004, so the Sun was low enough to create this well placed rainbow -- the Sun must be no more than about 42 degrees above the horizon in order to see a rainbow.

Rainbows are caused by sunlight passing through water droplets, and after a single reflection, in the case of a primary bow, emerging at an angle of approximately 42 degrees. In essence, the water droplets act as both a mirror and a prism.

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