The Naked Scientists

The Naked Scientists Forum

Author Topic: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?  (Read 54660 times)

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« on: 28/11/2008 16:17:53 »

Hi peoples something very strange happened to my wife and I while driving back from Torquay yesterday after taking the dogs for a walk. It started to rain. So what?-- I hear you say, it does that a lot in the UK. And I agree it certainly does rain a lot but this was very different. Two magnificent rainbows appeared side by side right in front of the car and we drove right through the end of one of the rainbows.

This is a first for both of us. The road was coloured in a line in front of us, almost like the road had changed into all the colours of the rainbow. It was one of those days you wished you had a camera.

It was truly spectacular.

When we were kids we used to play in the quarry and spray the hosepipe into the air to form a fine mist, this provided us with an artificial rainbow keeping us entertained for half an hour or so.

Hmm just remembered we used to collect phosphorous rocks and thrown them down the road when it was dark that was pretty amazing too come to think of it, anyways back on track.


Has anyone else experienced a rainbow touching down on top of them?
« Last Edit: 28/11/2008 17:29:03 by chris »

RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7282
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #1 on: 28/11/2008 21:51:46 »
This person looks like they've got their own personal rainbow...



http://www.atoptics.co.uk/droplets/gloim20.htm

But it's actually a "Brocken Spectre" which is primarily due to interference,
 so it's not the same as a rainbow which is due to refraction (dispersion).
« Last Edit: 28/11/2008 22:57:35 by RD »

Karen W.

  • Too Much Free Time Level Member
  • **********
  • Posts: 31532
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #2 on: 28/11/2008 23:01:22 »
Andrew YES....YES ....YES....I drove through one and mentioned it here in the forum but was told that that was not possible although I seen it with my own eyes.. shining right on my car as I passed through it and it was awesome because when I came out there was a second rainbow well ahead of me.. miles ahead.. so yes.. .. My kink is here somewhere I will find it!

http://www.thenakedscientists.com/forum/index.php?topic=7373.msg78171#msg78171
« Last Edit: 28/11/2008 23:05:44 by Karen W. »

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #3 on: 29/11/2008 09:04:47 »
Just read your posts Karen. Awesome, exactly what I saw, and nearly 52 years young this was a first for me. We saw the end of the huge rainbow directly in front of us and I was thinking to myself at the time how bright the small area was as we approached. Again dropping down to around 2-3 miles per hour, we noticed this rainbow was not moving further away but remaining in one location as if waiting for us to drive through it. The spectrum of colours was astonishing. There was no vehicle in front of us so spray could not account for the colours shimmering above the road as SophieCentaur suggested may have been the case.

I know this sounds like an illusion or some other strange explanation may fit it better but having lots of experience with rainbows and rain living in the UK for nearly 52 years this was a first for me. Up to that few minutes of pure ecstasy, I too believed it was impossible to reach the end of the rainbow. A day I shall remember for the rest of my life.



« Last Edit: 29/11/2008 09:06:56 by Andrew K Fletcher »

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #4 on: 29/11/2008 09:31:00 »


A post from someone who did have a camera at the time she drove through a rainbow :)

Karen looks like we are not imagining things after all.

http://www.43things.com/things/view/229376/find-the-end-of-a-rainbow

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #5 on: 29/11/2008 09:41:59 »

Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7718
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #6 on: 29/11/2008 17:47:35 »
Rainbows are circular. Where's the end?
Nice pics though.
The last picture I took of a rainbow was one that was entirely orange rather than the usual red through violet. Can anyone think why?

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #7 on: 29/11/2008 18:40:04 »
The end was right in front of my wife and I as we drove through it. This rainbow was definitely a half circle and one end at least was on the ground changing the colour of the road with a fantastic light display exactly as portrayed in the cartoon account above and as seen in the car windscreen picture lighting up the ground where the rainbow appears to end. Karen and my wife saw the same effects and so have many more people. This is not the run of the mill rainbow we are all familiar with but a stationary rainbow that can be viewed and experienced as it is passed through. Had I not have seen it I would be doubtful too.

Karen W.

  • Too Much Free Time Level Member
  • **********
  • Posts: 31532
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #8 on: 29/11/2008 18:43:53 »
Just read your posts Karen. Awesome, exactly what I saw, and nearly 52 years young this was a first for me. We saw the end of the huge rainbow directly in front of us and I was thinking to myself at the time how bright the small area was as we approached. Again dropping down to around 2-3 miles per hour, we noticed this rainbow was not moving further away but remaining in one location as if waiting for us to drive through it. The spectrum of colours was astonishing. There was no vehicle in front of us so spray could not account for the colours shimmering above the road as SophieCentaur suggested may have been the case.

I know this sounds like an illusion or some other strange explanation may fit it better but having lots of experience with rainbows and rain living in the UK for nearly 52 years this was a first for me. Up to that few minutes of pure ecstasy, I too believed it was impossible to reach the end of the rainbow. A day I shall remember for the rest of my life.





Thanks so much Andrew! It is good to at least find others who experienced the same thing.... It was awesome and like you I slowed down and even backed back up to see if my mind was really seeing it.. I was amazed when I pulled through ...I saw a second one several miles ahead and was baffled and not sure if it had moved.. so Thats why I backed back up I could still see it behind me so I backed back into it to watch the colors on my car again.. It was awesome and I did feel like I was seeing something unusual....  Maybe I should go back and find the treasure... LOL I know jut which place in the road it came down... right in front of some bushes that are still there! ...

RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7282
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #9 on: 30/11/2008 02:01:41 »
The last picture I took of a rainbow was one that was entirely orange rather than the usual red through violet. Can anyone think why?

If the sun was low in the sky (close to sunset /sunrise) the sunlight would have lost a lot of its blue content through Raleigh scattering, the rainbow produced would have a reduced blue-violet content, i.e. be mostly red-orange. (If the sun was low in the sky the rainbow produced would have arced high in the sky). Also some digital cameras and films have a "warm" (orange) bias to give flattering skin tones, (an instant tan), which would distort how the colours of a rainbow were recorded.
« Last Edit: 30/11/2008 02:05:24 by RD »

Bored chemist

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7718
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #10 on: 30/11/2008 14:15:07 »
Got it in one; the picture was taken shortly afer dawn.

lyner

  • Guest
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #11 on: 30/11/2008 17:49:15 »
Just read your posts Karen. Awesome, exactly what I saw, and nearly 52 years young this was a first for me. We saw the end of the huge rainbow directly in front of us and I was thinking to myself at the time how bright the small area was as we approached. Again dropping down to around 2-3 miles per hour, we noticed this rainbow was not moving further away but remaining in one location as if waiting for us to drive through it. The spectrum of colours was astonishing. There was no vehicle in front of us so spray could not account for the colours shimmering above the road as SophieCentaur suggested may have been the case.

I know this sounds like an illusion or some other strange explanation may fit it better but having lots of experience with rainbows and rain living in the UK for nearly 52 years this was a first for me. Up to that few minutes of pure ecstasy, I too believed it was impossible to reach the end of the rainbow. A day I shall remember for the rest of my life.

I have been thinking about this again.
The rainbow is a 'virtual' image. The Sun is behind you and the light is dispersed and internally reflected back to you via droplets which are in a cone around a line from the Sun and through your eyes (hence the circular appearance). Traveling directly away from the Sun will make the  rainbow appear to be traveling along with you.
If you are traveling 'towards' one end of the bow then it would normally also appear to be moving. But if there is a changing gradient in the road (and this would have to be a rare / special set of circs)  the apparent end could appear not to be changing its position as you see a different part of your personal circle in contact with the road. Presumably the effect gave up in the end - or else you should have had a spade with you!

You can get a rainbow which you can actually put your hand into if you have a garden spray and get the angles just right.

Make it Lady

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 4050
  • Hands-on fun for everyone!
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #12 on: 30/11/2008 19:44:43 »
My friend used to fly helicopters in the army and says that if you fly quite high, rainbows look like dounuts.

RD

  • Neilep Level Member
  • ******
  • Posts: 7282
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #13 on: 01/12/2008 05:01:47 »
My friend used to fly helicopters in the army and says that if you fly quite high, rainbows look like dounuts.

Quote
Fanny Craddock’s Doughnuts
 
Picture the scene, the fearful Fanny Craddock, Britain’s first celebrity chef with more make-up than Coco the clown,
 puts finishing touches to some sticky doughnuts during a live transmission of a BBC regional news show.
As she pulls a tray out of the oven the studio presenter turns to camera and closes the item with the immortal [line]

 “and if you're making these at home, I hope all your doughnuts look like Fanny’s”. 
http://entertainment.uk.msn.com/tv/features/article.aspx?cp-documentid=10901404

lyner

  • Guest
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #14 on: 03/12/2008 16:52:52 »
A hairy rainbow?

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #15 on: 04/12/2008 08:32:23 »
RD priceless. Loved it :)
My friend used to fly helicopters in the army and says that if you fly quite high, rainbows look like dounuts.

Quote
Fanny Craddock’s Doughnuts
 
Picture the scene, the fearful Fanny Craddock, Britain’s first celebrity chef with more make-up than Coco the clown,
 puts finishing touches to some sticky doughnuts during a live transmission of a BBC regional news show.
As she pulls a tray out of the oven the studio presenter turns to camera and closes the item with the immortal [line]

 “and if you're making these at home, I hope all your doughnuts look like Fanny’s”. 
http://entertainment.uk.msn.com/tv/features/article.aspx?cp-documentid=10901404

happyman

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #16 on: 13/12/2008 18:23:54 »
This is amazing! It really excited me

lyner

  • Guest
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #17 on: 14/12/2008 21:54:18 »
To summarise, the answer to the question is, actually NO, although it could look rather like it.

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #18 on: 19/12/2008 10:12:17 »
Longing for the day that you get to see it for yourself :) Be nice if it was on your boat on the ocean changing the water into all the colours of the rainbow. If my wife and I hadn't seen it we would also still believe it was impossible. But there ya go.

Karen W.

  • Too Much Free Time Level Member
  • **********
  • Posts: 31532
  • "come fly with me"
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #19 on: 19/12/2008 11:42:36 »
Me too Andrew!!!

MarkGreen

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 3
    • View Profile
    • Solar Panels
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #20 on: 19/12/2008 16:52:57 »
So pretty! :o
I love'em :]

lyner

  • Guest
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #21 on: 20/12/2008 12:01:53 »
Longing for the day that you get to see it for yourself :) Be nice if it was on your boat on the ocean changing the water into all the colours of the rainbow. If my wife and I hadn't seen it we would also still believe it was impossible. But there ya go.
A rainbow is a well defined phenomenon. What you see is the result of light being internally reflected and dispersed inside water drops. It is a virtual image. The angle subtended by the bow is about 42 degrees from a line through your head from the Sun; it's a cone. That is what an actual rainbow is.

If you want to suggest that, suddenly, light behaved differently for you then I have to doubt you.
You may have seen another phenomenon or even misinterpreted what you saw. There are many other ways of producing a very pretty and striking optical spectrum but they are not rainbows.
Did you want Science to have been suspended, temporarily, for your experience or do you want a scientific explanation for what you saw?

Andrew K Fletcher

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 2321
  • KIS Keep It Simple
    • View Profile
    • Operation OASIS
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #22 on: 20/12/2008 14:58:02 »
My wife and I saw a huge rainbow. 1 end of which was close by and was not moving aways as anticipated. we drove closer and eventually right through it at a snails pace. While within the very bright area, the road was coloured and there appeared to be a full spectrum of colours.

Miss interpreted what we saw? Kidding right? Might not have been a rainbow? Bahhhh Humbug

lyner

  • Guest
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #23 on: 20/12/2008 17:23:40 »
The problem is: do you have an alternative explanation for how a rainbow is formed? This question strikes me as very relevant.
I could suggest that the spectrum you saw was formed, perhaps, on your windscreen. Did you get our of the car? Could you draw a diagram of the actual situation, including the Sun's direction?
Should I believe YOU or the evidence of my own frequent optical experiments and the eminent logic of the tried (and tested)  description of rainbow formation?
Rainbows behave like rainbows - except for akf??? I don't think so..
« Last Edit: 21/12/2008 01:16:02 by sophiecentaur »

Cris12

  • Newbie
  • *
  • Posts: 6
    • View Profile
Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #24 on: 24/12/2008 17:01:49 »
Hi. I'm from Hawaii and I'd like to say that I'm glad I found this message board discussing passing through a rainbow. I was recently at Discover.com message board where someone asked if it was possible to pass through a rainbow and most of the posters there discounted it saying that it was an impossibility. I did post something but now the link to that site has been replaced. Anyway, I want to add that I've also experienced passing through a rainbow twice. The first one was the most vivid. It was just an amazing experience seeing all the colors around me. I was driving downhill at that time and there was another car in front of me that passed through it first. The second time I experienced it was on the freeway. I know another person personally who claimed he has experienced it. So there, add me to the few (maybe many?)who have passed through a rainbow.

 

SMF 2.0 | SMF © 2011, Simple Machines