How Do Rainbows Form?

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On Friday I talked about how Saturday evening and Sunday would be really nice around these parts temperature wise and Mother Nature delivered. Temperatures this morning dropped into the lower 60s (coolest in almost 2 months) and there were even some 50s in the northern reaches of our viewing area just like I promised…same thing can happen again tomorrow AM as the “cooler” air recirculates around an area of High Pressure that will be centered in IA later this evening.

As the cooler air was moving in yesterday, some high cloud based showers/sprinkles moved through the region. St Joseph picked up 1/4″ but for the most part everybody else got little rainfall again. What these showers did though was create some great sunset pictures as the sun was in the process of setting. I was out at the royals game last night and took a couple of pictures of the rainbows that were being created by the sprinkles. As a matter of fact even got a faint double rainbow to show up in a couple of the pictures.

So with all the rainbows around yesterday evening…do you know how and why a rainbow forms? First of all, sunlight, like what we have outside today is made up a different colors that we don’t typically see. When the sun’s white light hits a raindrop at a certain angle, the raindrop acts as a prism and helps to separate the different colors of the sun’s beam in the form of a rainbow. Here is more from How stuff works…

“The angle for each color of a rainbow is different, because the colors slow down at different speeds when they enter the raindrop. The light exits the raindrop in one color, depending on the angle it came in, so we see only one color coming from each raindrop. Light at different angles coming through many raindrops form the rainbow that we see, in stripes of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.”

When I was in Sedona a couple of weeks ago and playing golf, there was a shower over the mountains that was fading as it approached us. It did leave us with a nice rainbow to look at though for a few minutes. Here is a look at it…

You have to look hard for it…it’s just below the mesa tops!

It would be nice if at the end of the rainbow the “pot of gold” was a bunch of rain. At this point I’m not sure what would be more valuable. Unfortunately while there is a chance on Wednesday AM with our next front moving into the area it doesn’t look significant for the KC area. Highs ahead of the front may be nipping on 100° before the front drops temperatures about 5-8° on Wednesday. While there is not much rain in the forecast for the next 5-7 days, there is also no extreme heat heading this way either. So that’s a good thing.


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