Rainbows 101

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Quad Cities (KWQC) - A lot of people saw rainbows Monday afternoon. As isolated as some of the storms were there was ample sunlight shining between the storms. This made for perfect rainbow forming conditions. When you see a rainbow you're actually seeing the prism effect of infinite raindrops! When sunlight enters a raindrop the pure white light is split into all of the colors we see as a rainbow. The light is split into all its colors, refracted as it enters the drop, reflected off the back of the drop, and refracted, again, as it leaves the raindrop. This is what you need to know to see a rainbow. If rain is moving in the opposite direction of the shining sun, then you have an excellent chance of seeing a rainbow. Rainbows are visible when there is falling rain in front of you, and the shining sun is behind you. This means that if we know a few certain things, we can sometimes predict when rainbows will become visible, as was the case last night. By the way, in the picture above, you can see how the rainbow is centered. That was just lucky - or maybe I had a feeling it would happen. I had positioned the Skyview camera to look east and had even said early during the 6 o'clock news that rainbows were likely. About 15 minutes later the beauty you see in the picture appeared.