Aristotle – Theory for Rainbow Formation

A rainbow is an optical phenomenon; it is visible whenever there are droplets of water in the air and sunlight shining from behind. In about 300 BC a Greek philosopher Aristotle devoted much time understanding the theory of rainbow formation. His main idea is when ray of sunlight hit points in the raincloud they all deflective back at a fixed angle. As rays of the sun are parallel to each other they will deflect at the same angle at all points of the clouds. He used geometry to explain this theory ascertaining that if the ground is not in way we would see a full rainbow circle however with shadows in the way that is why we see an arch shape. There is no fixed point in the sky to locate a rainbow; its position is dependent on the observer’s location and the position of the sun. When we move our visual optic of the rainbow moves, with this in mind the myth of ‘pot of gold at the other side of the rainbow reminds a myth.


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