Why This Rainbow is Round

Q: Why are rainbows round?

A: The phenomenon  is called a glory. We air travelers often see bright rings around the plane’s shadow whenever the plane flies in the sunshine above the clouds, if the sun is behind us. The sun must be behind us, like it is when we watch a rainbow, so that cloud droplets can scatter the light into colors and bend them back to our eyes.

So, I saw this “round rainbow” from an airplane window. At first, I thought I was seeing things–I sat up in the seat and blinked the sleepiness away. Then I stood up to see if anyone else was looking at the same spectacle. It reminded me of that Twilight Zone episode: 20,000 Feet in the Air, when a passenger sees this creature outside of the window–and no one else does. But I got in on “film”, and I can laugh about it now.

© Teresita Abad Doebley. All rights reserved 2009-2011.

Quote of the Day for YOU :         Rainbows apologize for angry skies. ~Sylvia Voirol


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