Reddish-colored rainbows spotted across the Miami Valley


Many WHIO viewers sent pictures of beautiful rainbows that were spotted across the Miami Valley Monday morning and then again during the evening. Most of the pictures were of reddish colored or rainbows. 

So why the unusual color? 

It turns out, it has a lot to do with the time the rainbows were spotted, which was around sunrise and then again around sunset. 

Rainbows appear when sunlight bends as it passes through airborne water droplets. Different parts of the light spectrum bend by different amounts, breaking the light into its individual color components and creating a colorful arc. 

The red color is because when the Sun is on the horizon, it looks red. When the Sun is on the horizon, its light is passing through more air to reach you because the atmosphere is curved. 

Air scatters away colors with shorter wavelengths (like blue), and the more air there is, the longer the wavelength that gets scattered. 

When the Sun is high, the blue is scattered most, and the sky looks blue. When the Sun is lower, green and even yellow and orange get scattered away, leaving the Sun looking red. 

Since predominantly red light gets through the air, that red light makes up the rainbow. 


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