This has been the year of the rainbow. With our ridge top view and full arch of sky we are blessed to witness many a phenomenon of the heavens. Approaching from the west are the thunderstorms, squalls, minute showers and full force blasts of weather which bring forth a whole wave of emotions; joy, fascination, panic, relief. In many instances I have observed these storms move through mid afternoon or early evening, the perfect opportunity to spot a rainbow.
Rainbows are truly amazing, who can forget the video tape of the guy running outside exclaiming “Double Rainbow” at the top of his lungs, it’s a funny video and in many ways I can relate. I know I’ve had my share of double rainbow moments, especially this year. Scientifically speaking a rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that is caused by both reflection and refraction of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. The rainbow is not located at a specific distance, but comes from an optical illusion caused by any water droplets viewed from a certain angle relative to a light source. Thus, a rainbow is not an object and cannot be physically approached (maybe..). Indeed, it is impossible for an observer to see a rainbow from water droplets at any angle other than 42 degrees from the direction opposite the light source. Even if an observer sees another observer who seems “under” or “at the end of” a rainbow, the second observer will see a different rainbow—farther off—at the same angle as seen by the first observer. So every rainbow you see is yours to enjoy.