Playing with the rainbow - light refraction

Rainbow on command! This was what I witnessed today and it was so very beautiful and wet.
After more than a week of fog and dark days, today it was a beautiful sunny day.
At this time, everywhere in the city people are decorating whatever they can. As I was watching some workers decorating a huge Christmas tree I witnessed the most beautiful decoration from nature itself: a rainbow playing with the fountain.Rainbow play with the fountain
Every time the fountain pushed the water high, the rainbow appeared; after a few minutes the fountain shuts down and than starts again. Each time the rainbow was back.
I pooled my small camera from my purse and made some photos.
Unfortunately, after a few, not very successful shots my battery died.
Rainbow-refraction of light
Rainbow near the fountain
You still can observe (if you try hard) on the photos the red light at the top of the circular arc, which is usually visible at this steep angle with respect to the ground. I don't know why but I was somehow disappointed because I always think about rainbows as being something special, something you can't just have when you want it.
Now I had to wake up of my daydreaming and admit that it is just physics, just light refraction.

Refraction, is the bending of light ray when it passes from one medium to another; in this case the sun's rays when they enter or leave the water drops. Light passing into the water from the air will travel more slowly in the water than in air which causes the ray of light to bend. By bending the light rays, white light is separated into its constituents (the seven colors of the rainbow).
The small droplets of water suspended in the air act like a prism that disperses the light.
It is a familiar effect to anyone, especially for a painter or photographer, that has ever looked at the broken image of flowers in a glass vase.
At the end I have a question for you: did you know that a rainbow can actually be a complete circle. From the ground we see the top half of the circle since the bottom half is prevented by the presence of the ground. From a small plane you can look both upward and downward and if you are very lucky it is possible to view the complete circular bow.
If anyone has such a photo, please let me know.
See some other light effects in this earlier post.
Full circle rainbow
Here is a full rainbow circle captured from an airplane.


Sylvia K said...

Oh, and how much fun that would be! A circular rainbow! Of course, that makes perfect sense, would love to see that! Your photos are fantastic and really capture all that beautiful sunshine and that earthly part of the rainbow! What a delightful day it must have been! Thanks for sharing!

May you have more sunny days this week!


SandyCarlson said...

I like that rainbow very much.

Janie said...

Beautiful captures of the rainbow in the fountain! I had never heard of a full circle rainbow, but it would be fascinating to see.

Wolynski said...

Yes, I can see the rainbow. That's a very pretty square this fountain is in.

Peter Molz said...

Hi, thanks for the beautiful photos from a sunny day in Cluj which I discovered via MyWorld Tuesday.

I have been to Cluj 4 years ago, in December of 2005 and spent some sunny and relatively mild days there before travelling to Brasov.

Lots of good memories from this holiday in Transilvania came up when I saw your photos of the fountain on the sunny square between the orthodox church and the theatre in Cluj.

If you like, you can see my photos from my 2005 trip to Transilvania here: (website in german)

Rajesh said...

That is very cool to see a rainbow in the fountain water in such a beautiful surroundings. The facts about rainbow are new to me

Gattina said...

What a chance you have got ! of course it's more interesting then a Christmas tree, there are so many !

catcent said...

Bien réussi, sur la troisième on le voit bien.J'ai été voir l'article assez surprenant mais ils disent que sans est pas vraiment un. Bye Mai A+

eileeninmd said...

Wonderful photos of the rainbow and the fountain! Well done.

Lindz said...

I just love the water flow up higher than the building and yes I can see the rainbow too. these are great photos

DeniseinVA said...

Wonderful post and watery photos. That rainbow was amazing!!! What an incredible sight that must have been.

A Joyful Chaos said...

Love rainbows. Thanks for sharing.

Joe Todd said...

Really enjoyed the photos and commentary. I wish you had been my physics prof LOL

Post a Comment

Thanks for taking the time to comment.
Please don't leave link in your comment. Thank you.

Search for photos, macro photos or paintings.

Do you want to create a separate archive page for your blog too?
If yes, click the link above to go to the tutorial.