Curious Rainbow


I DO not see that the rainbow described by Mr. Swettenham (NATURE, vol. x. p. 398) was different from an ordinary rainbow of moderate brightness, except in there being a slight interval between the two series of colours, which generally blend into one another. The fainter series are attributed to interference. In bright rainbows there are three, if not four, series of colours, at least in the upper part of the arch, where the colours are always the most distinct, probably owing to the rain-drops being smaller high up, and therefore more perfectly globular. It may not be generally known that a rainbow may be seen much more perfectly in a single drop of dew, by placing the eye close to it, than in rain, and then no less than ten or twelve series of colours may be seen; and in the irregular dew-drops (as also in hoarfrost) a great and veiy beautiful variety of bows and spectra can be seen.

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BACKHOUSE, T. Curious Rainbow. Nature 10, 437–438 (1874).

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