If you’ve ever looked at a rainbow and wondered how all those bright
colors got in the sky, you’re not alone.
The ancient Greeks thought these arcs of color were signs from the gods to warn people that terrible wars or storms were going to happen. The Norse people believed a rainbow was a bridge the gods used to walk down from the sky to the Earth. Other legends said there was a pot of gold waiting at the end of a rainbow. But as beautiful as rainbows are, they aren’t magic. And they aren’t solid enough to walk on. In fact, a rainbow is just colored light. The seven colors are always the same and appear in the same order: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo (a very deep blue), and violet. The name “Roy G. Biv” helps you remember the first letters and the order of the colors.
Rainbows often appear after or at the end of a storm, when the Sun is shining again but there is still some rain in the air. The sunlight looks white, but all seven rainbow colors are mixed together in it. So when a beam of sunlight passes through raindrops, it’s broken into the seven different colors. But you don’t have to wait for rain to see rainbows. You can make your own rainbow.
Place the glass of water in direct sunlight and then submerge a small mirror halfway in the water. Half of the mirror should be below the water line and half above the water line. Tilt and rotate the mirror until you catch the sunlight, which will then be refracted through the water to create the rainbow colors.
You’ve got an instant rainbow!