Letter | Published:

Rainbow on Spray

Abstract

THE appearance noticed by “G. H.” in last week's NATURE (p. 464) is a well-known sight at sea under certain conditions. I first saw it from the deck of the Anchor Line s.s. Bolivia, about two hundred miles east of Cape Cod. It lasted for half an hour between 10 and 11 a.m. The sea was going down after heavy weather: the sun was shining brightly in a clear blue sky, with light, fleecy clouds scudding along. A fresh westerly breeze cut the tops off the rollers and cast the spray high in the air. When the procession of waves passed through an area more or less opposite to the sun, their crests took up beautiful rainbows; there were thousands of them, and as the steamer rolled and pitched, the changing angle caused the spray on some waves to take more of one or other primary colour, seeming now blue, now red, and again yellow golden.

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