Rainbows Have No Ends

All rainbows are, in theory, circles. You don't see them as such because the Earth gets in the way! But pilots have noticed full-circle rainbows outside their plane windows, proving that if you get high enough, you can see a rainbow in its entirety. If you're stuck on the ground, however, you can see the largest percentage of a rainbow (around 50% of the circle) by spotting one around sunrise or sunset. You can also create a full-circle rainbow yourself if you spray mist from a hose with your back to the sun.

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Key Facts In This Video

  1. When light enters and exits a raindrop, refraction changes its direction by around 138 degrees. 00:07

  2. If you are high enough above the ground, you may be able to see a full-circle rainbow. 00:39

  3. Double rainbows are technically called secondary rainbows. 01:23

Written by Curiosity Staff February 18, 2016