Rainbows Have No Ends

Excited for today's eclipse? Visit our Eclipse 2017 page to explore the science, history, and myths of the event. The Curiosity team will be viewing the eclipse alongside NASA in Carbondale, Illinois. Follow us on Facebook for live videos, trivia, and interviews today!

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.

Share the knowledge!

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

If you liked this you'll love our podcast! Check it out on iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play Music, SoundCloud, search 'curiosity' on your favorite podcast app or add the RSS Feed URL.

Advertisement