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  The Rainbow Connection

The rainy spring season is coming and if you’re lucky you might see a rainbow!  How do rainbows form, why do you see colors and how can you make your own rainbow, you ask?  You came to the right place my friend!

First let’s tackle how rainbows form.  Simply put, a rainbow forms when light and water come together. The more complicated answer has to do with refraction or the bending of light.  Light travels from the sun in a straight line.  When it enters something like a raindrop the light bends and the colors separate.  Check out the books at the bottom of the page for more information!

Next, let’s talk about those colors. Light that comes from the sun might not look like it has any color but really it is made up of many colors.  The light from our sun is made up of red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet.   Now that’s a pretty big list but there’s a person (okay, not a real person, but a made-up name) who can help you remember the colors of the rainbow and his name is ROY G. BIV.  Each letter in the name stands for the first letter of each color name -R=red, O=orange, Y=yellow and so on.

Now that you know so much about rainbows you’re ready to see one.  The best time to see a rainbow in the sky is when has just rained (or is raining lightly) and there is sunlight at the same time – it also helps if the sun is low in the sky.  Stand with your back to the sun and if you’re lucky you’ll see a rainbow!  If you want to try to make your own rainbow, check out the links below.

Did You Know?

Rainbows are important parts of myths and stories from all over the world.

You might already know about rainbows in Irish mythology.  They say that you can find a leprechaun’s pot of gold at the end of a rainbow.  Some myths say that the leprechauns gathered the gold while others say that fairies gave the gold to the leprechauns to guard.

In Norse Mythology, a rainbow called the Bifröst Bridge connects the realms of Ásgard (home of gods like Thor and Loki) and Midgard (home of humans).

In Chinese mythology, the rainbow was a slit in the sky sealed by goddess Nüwa using stones of five different colors.

In Greek mythology, Iris is the goddess who represents the rainbow.  She is a messenger for the gods and is the link between humans and the gods.

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