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When direct sunlight strikes falling rain, a rainbow is seen at a point directly opposite the Sun. This photograph is of a double rainbow.
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Image Courtesy of Carlye Calvin/University Corporation for Atmospheric Research

Rainbows

Rainbows appear in the sky when there is bright sunlight and rain. Sunlight is known as visible or white light and is actually a mixture of colors. The sun's rays pass through millions of raindrops. A raindrop acts like a prism by bending and scattering the light to form one large rainbow.

You can only see a rainbow if the sun is behind you and the rain in front. You can even make your own rainbow with a garden hose or water sprinkler on a sunny day.

Last modified February 10, 2009 by Becca Hatheway.

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