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Author Topic: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?  (Read 91614 times)

Offline WonderWorld

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #50 on: 06/06/2015 17:18:11 »
wow... most of the people here seem to be polarized in two groups... one group doesn't know a lot about physics and nature, but is very curious and open-minded, and most of this group has also had a personal experience with the phenomenon in question and is certain it is possible, but has no idea how. The other group primarily has at least some educational background, but is not very curious, or motivated to explore how a phenomenon like this could be possible, furthermore, there seems to be an inclination to use basic information they remember from their education to refute the possibility, rather than trying to dig deeper and uncover an angle that clearly hasn't been considered before. ;)

this is kinda funny because people who identify as scientists are typically pinned as the sort of people who are most interested in thinking outside the box and discovering new things. I suspect this is a symptom of our formal education system. (re,
)  *takes off psychology hat*


Anyway I want to explore this topic.  My grandmother had this same exact experience, and I was telling my boyfriend about it and I realized it was very hard to explain so I did a google search and came across this thread (and several more examples not in this thread). I have NOT found an explanation yet, but I'm not giving up. There are some excellent clues detailed in various personal accounts of this phenomenon. One clue is, in a genuine example of being "in" a rainbow, one seems to be illuminated with coloured light. Another great clue is an apparent double instance or split image of the rainbow (one in the distance, and one close up).  A third excellent clue is in the "comic" story by Jennifer Dian Reitz that Andrew linked us to on page one here. On that page Jenifer said: "Like taking a camera and shooting several shots of the same thing, on the same piece of film, the angle slightly different, and each with a different color filter."  That is am excellent clue too!

I really like damocles suggestion... that this might be an instance of actual prismatic refraction, rather than the typical reflective raindrop refraction which everyone has so firmly ruled out.  But I'd also like to bring to the floor another idea that could maybe be acting alone or on combination with one of these other ways rainbows colours are produced.  Jennifer's description is key in inspiring this suggestion. The multiple images she described immediately made me think of the properties of optical calcite and so I did a little digging to better understand that "double refraction" phenomenon that I now know to be called, "Birefringence," officially. Here is a blurb about birefringence that I was reading before signing up to post here: newbielink:http://www.atoptics.co.uk/fz240.htm [nonactive]

My thoughts are that it's possible there was some sort of birefringent anomaly in the sky, between the sun and those two ladies,  that might have caused a polarized "projection" onto the area the ladies were standing. or maybe a combination of that and some actual prismatic refraction like damocles suggested... Ice crystals have a slight birefringent quality to their structure.... But I don't know enough about atmospheric phenomena to feel certain about my theory... nor can I think of a way to practically test this theory.. I would LOVE some feedback from some curious minds.

This is a REAL phenomenon that people have experienced first-hand, but it's extremely rare, which suggests to me that there may be more than one known condition at work here. What other commonly known atmospheric conditions can we think of that might have been working in conjunction with the typical rainbow conditions we are familiar with??  I mean something besides an excess of road spray which (in my eyes) has clearly been ruled out.

Lets explore this further.  Maybe this group will be the first to discover exactly HOW someone can stand at the end of a rainbow!
 

Offline chiralSPO

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #51 on: 06/06/2015 17:40:18 »
There are many different effects that can be described as a "rainbow."

Once I saw what I thought was a side-view of a rainbow (actually looked like two rainbows, one on either side of the sun, viewed from the side so the colors nearly merged.) Unfortunately none of the pictures I took could capture the effect, but with some internet sleuthing I found that I had seen a pair of "Sun dogs." Here is an image that best replicates what I saw: http://wordlesstech.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/sundog-very-rare-ice-rainbow2.jpg

do a google image search for sundog rainbow, and you will find some pretty incredible images.
 

Offline weijing3333

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #52 on: 19/08/2015 04:28:17 »
A rainbow is not located at a specific distance from the observer, but comes from an optical illusion caused by any water droplets viewed from a certain angle relative to a newbielink:http://www.renesola.com/lights-lighting/ [nonactive] source. Thus, a rainbow is not an object and cannot be physically approached. Indeed, it is impossible for an observer to see a rainbow from water droplets at any angle other than the customary one of 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.

Rainbows span a continuous spectrum of colours. Any distinct bands perceived are an artefact of human colour vision, and no banding of any type is seen in a black-and-white photo of a rainbow, only a smooth gradation of intensity to a maximum, then fading towards the other side. For colours seen by the human eye, the most commonly cited and remembered sequence is Newton's seven fold red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, remembered by the mnemonic, Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #53 on: 27/09/2015 23:42:26 »
It is possible to reach the end of the rainbow, because it happened to me. It was summer, about two years ago, and I was traveling by car north bound from Massachusetts to New Hampshire. It had been thunder storming, and I had driven in the rain for about 1/2 hour and had reached the end of the storm and could see a rainbow. The rainbow was still at a distance, in front of me, easy to see, and I was heading toward it. Between the storm moving and me moving I reached rainbow and traveled into it. It was gray around me so the colors had great contrast. Eventually the colors changed to just a bright golden yellow. This may be what has been described, by lore, as the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow; gold color of the light.
 

Offline slappas

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #54 on: 11/10/2015 17:31:26 »
Just yesterday I was swimming in the ocean in South Florida. I had taken a large crystal I have into the water with me to charge it up. It had been intermittently sprinkling throughout the day, and began sprinkling moderately while I was in the water. The sun was low in the sky as it was late in the afternoon. Suddenly I noticed the water around me was reflecting rainbow colors, and the air around me was playing tricks on my eyes. In the distance,  a bit diagonal in the direction further from shore, I could see the colors in a concentrated area of the water (the other end of the rainbow ). As the front of rain moved out to sea, so did the rainbow. It was quite an amazing experience. I found this thread because I was looking for similar experiences, and wanted to share mine.
 

Offline Colin2B

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #55 on: 18/10/2015 00:35:12 »
.. It had been intermittently sprinkling throughout the day, and began sprinkling moderately while I was in the water. The sun was low in the sky as it was late in the afternoon. Suddenly I noticed the water around me was reflecting rainbow colors, and the air around me was playing tricks on my eyes. In the distance,  a bit diagonal in the direction further from shore, I could see the colors in a concentrated area of the water (the other end of the rainbow ). As the front of rain moved out to sea, so did the rainbow. ..
Must have been quite a sight.
This is common where there is a reflecting surface between observer and the sun. Strictly speaking they arn't called rainbows, which are produced at very specific angles to the sun.
Another phenomenon often reported is that mentioned in the opening post, of a coloured bow at ground level that you can appear to walk or drive through. This might be what you saw, as there was rain on the surface, they are usually seen as 'dewbows' where dew on grass reflects the light - with very small droplets reflection+diffraction effects may predominate. The rain would have produced a layer of very fine droplets just above the surface. The OP mentions the hosepipe effect which is the same, you can almost feel as if you are inside the bow.

Edit: just skimmed through the whole thread, seems like quite a few people have seen these effects, obviously make quite an impression as they are quite dramatic.
The road effect some mention is due to the droplets being horizontal. In a rainbow the droplets are in a vertical plane so we see a circle or part circle. With droplets in a horizontal plane, as in a dewbow, we see a hyperbolic curve, often an ellipse, but sometimes a parabola, the ends of a parabola can appear to be straight giving the impression that a rainbow road stretches ahead and you are walking or driving along it. Rain giving a fine mist or aerosol above a road can do it, but I've only seen it a few times, usually seen on grass.
« Last Edit: 18/10/2015 11:49:40 by Colin2B »
 

Offline Howard Chambers

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #56 on: 24/08/2016 01:57:20 »
I have often wondered if it was possible to actually stand at the end of the rainbow.  I had a friend once tell me that he was in the end of the rainbow once, that it was very beautiful.  He was riding a horse at the time and couldn't keep up with it.  I had some questions about if this was possible but I also know my friend and trust he was telling the truth.

A couple of  years later I was the cook for a camp.  The evening came and the kitchen was totally cleaned up.  I went outside to sit down and relax on the patio.  I saw the sun setting and I saw a rainbow in front of me.  As I watched it seemed to be getting closer to me.  Al off a sudden it seemed as if it had disappeared, but all the atmosphere around me had a red haze to it.  About 30 seconds later I saw the rainbow behind me now.

So I do believe it is possible now.  I just have never heard anyone agree or explain this from a scientific view.  I do believe that it must be at the right time however, during the sunset so that everything is done at the correct angle and timing.   

Any thoughts about this would be great.
« Last Edit: 24/08/2016 02:00:53 by Howard Chambers »
 

Offline puppypower

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #57 on: 24/08/2016 12:38:45 »
The mystical pot of gold at the end of the rainbow describes the bright golden yellow light one sees at the end of the rainbow. This is how you tell your are there. There must be certain geometry between the sun, rain and clouds.

I have seen this same lighting before, but not connected to a rainbow. At that sighting, the entire western sky became that golden yellow. This strange lighting was connected to the remnants of a former hurricane, that had come north from the south, but was now downgraded to below a tropical storm, approaching my location, about an hour before sunset.

The cloud cover were very strange, with little bumps extending down from the cloud cover, that looked like little tornados trying to form, but aborting. The gray bumps were contrasted by the yellow lighting. As the cloud bank approached, the entire western sky became this bright golden yellow color. Within about ten minutes, the light turned off, as though the sun was setting. I would guess the geometry of the clouds, rain and sun were similar.
 

Offline makostok

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #58 on: 10/09/2016 09:20:37 »
I don't think so
 

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Re: Is it possible to reach the end of a rainbow?
« Reply #58 on: 10/09/2016 09:20:37 »

 

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