WHAT DOES RAINBOW APPEARS IN ARC SHAPE AND WHY NOT IN OTHER SHAPE

Asked by  | 21st Aug, 2009, 09:49: PM

Expert Answer:

A typical raindrop is spherical and therefore its effect on sunlight is symmetrical about an axis through the center of the drop and the source of light (in this case the sun). Because of this symmetry, the two-dimensional illustration of the figure serves us well

 

SA - incident ray/sunlight, AB - refracted ray, BC - reflected ray, CE - refracted ray/line of sight, Point E also the position of eye of the observer.

 

and the complete picture can be visualized by rotating the two dimensional illustration about the axis of symmetry. The symmetry of the focusing effect of each drop is such that whenever we view a raindrop along the line of sight defined by the rainbow ray, we will see a bright spot of reflected/refracted sunlight. Referring to the figure, we see that the rainbow ray for red light makes an angle of 42 degrees between the direction of the incident sunlight and the line of sight. Therefore, as long as the raindrop is viewed along a line of sight that makes this angle with the direction of incident light, we will see a brightening. The rainbow is thus a circle of angular radius 42 degrees.

Regards,

Team,

TopperLearning.

Answered by  | 22nd Aug, 2009, 01:16: PM

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