Glossary term: Rainbow

Description: The huge arc or bow of seven VIBGYOR colors (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red) spread out across the sky, usually after rain, is called a rainbow. It can generally be viewed in a direction which is opposite to the shining Sun. A rainbow occurs because the small droplets of water in the air break up the white sunlight into the VIBGYOR color spectrum through a process called refraction; this is similar to how a prism works. Sometimes two nested rainbows can be seen with the colors in reverse order. The outer bright one is called the primary rainbow while the inner fainter one is the secondary rainbow. The double rainbow phenomenon is relatively rare and occurs when light undergoes refraction twice within the water droplets.

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The OAE Multilingual Glossary is a project of the IAU Office of Astronomy for Education (OAE) in collaboration with the IAU Office of Astronomy Outreach (OAO). The terms and definitions were chosen, written and reviewed by a collective effort from the OAE, the OAE Centers and Nodes, the OAE National Astronomy Education Coordinators (NAECs) and other volunteers. You can find a full list of credits here. All glossary terms and their definitions are released under a Creative Commons CC BY-4.0 license and should be credited to "IAU OAE".