Inside a Rainbow

December 13, 2008


Provided by: Paul Gitto, Arcturus Observatory
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster, Paul Gitto

The photo above is a close up of a rainbow; not from a thundershower but rather from a lawn sprinkler. It was taken this past July from Pilesgrove, New Jersey. Of course, the optics of a bow from a sprinkler or garden hose is the same as that from a rain shower. The nice part about garden bows is that we can manufacture them so that they can be seen on any sunny day we choose. We don't have to wait for the Sun to be positioned just so when a rain shower passes by. An added bonus of bows from lawn sprinklers is that it's possible to see supernumerary bows if the nozzle is set to a fine mist. It's easiest to observe these faint colorful bows just inside the violet portion of the primary bow.