Did you know that there is no end to a rainbow? When you move, the rainbow moves with you. On this list of interesting rainbow facts, you’ll learn how rainbows form, what colors we see in a rainbow, and much more.

Rainbow Facts: 1-10

1. A rainbow is an arc of various colors that forms in the sky. The term “rainbow” derives from the Latin arcus pluvius, which translates as “rainy arch.”

2. Rainbows are created when light is reflected and refracted (bent) in water droplets in the atmosphere, resulting in the appearance of a spectrum of light.

3. Nobody sees the same rainbow; in fact, our individual eyes perceive slightly different rainbows. If someone appears to be standing directly beneath a visible rainbow, they will see an unique rainbow at the same angle but from a greater distance.

4. The majority of rainbows we see are “primary rainbows,” in which the color red is visible on the outer edge and violet on the inner edge.

5. Occasionally, light can be reflected three or four times within a water droplet, resulting in even fainter third or tertiary and fourth or quaternary rainbows facing the sun.

6. The Greek philosopher Xenophanes expanded on this by adding two more colors to the rainbow, stating that it was composed of yellow-green, purple, and red.

7. On March 14, 1994, the world’s longest-lasting (or most-observed) rainbow was seen over Sheffield, England – it lasted from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

8. The sky is darker between a rainbow and its double because light reflected in raindrops does not reach the observer in this region. This area is referred to as an Alexander’s band, after Alexander of Aphrodisias, who described it for the first time in 200 CE.

9. ROYGBIV is an easy way to remember the rainbow’s colors.

10. A person standing next to you is in a slightly different location, and thus sees the rainbow differently due to the presence of different raindrops.

Rainbow Facts: 11-21

11. On the ground, we see only a semi-circle rainbow, but from a great height, such as an airplane, we can see a complete circle rainbow.

12. In the winter, we cannot see rainbows because raindrops freeze into snowflakes, resulting in fewer raindrops falling.

13. The rainbow, according to Greek mythology, serves as a link between heaven and earth.

14. Additionally, supernumerary rainbows are referred to as stacker rainbows.

15. A rainbow is circular in shape. We perceive them as an arch because we are on the ground.

16. Rainbows are classified into nine distinct types: 

  • Primary rainbow
  • Twinned rainbow
  • Superhumerary rainbow
  • Double rainbow
  • Full-circle rainbow
  • Reflected rainbow
  • Fogbow
  • Monochrome rainbow
  • Higher-order rainbow

17. When two rainbows appear side by side, one above the other, this is referred to as a double rainbow.

18. A primary rainbow is the most frequently encountered type of rainbow in the sky.

19. A full-circle rainbow can be seen from an aircraft and reveals the rainbow’s complete shape.

20. Rainbows are thought to be possible on Titan, one of Saturn‘s moons.

21. A rainbow contains the seven colors that the human eye can perceive: violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, and red. 

Sources: 1, 2

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