Despite the fact that I’ve never found the pot of gold (still hoping), I love rainbows! I think most people do.  Adults love to ask about them, children love to stare at them and I love to talk about them.

When I speak to little ones about rainbows I tell them that nobody sees the same rainbow they see!  A rainbow is light coming from a certain direction. Your eyes see it a little differently than the person standing a few feet away sees it. You see the rainbow from your point of view! I also tell the kids that it's easy to find a rainbow in the sky.  When it’s raining and the sun is shining at the same time, go outside, turn your back to the sun and look straight ahead.  Rainbows are always centered on a point directly opposite the sun.  This point is referred to as the 'anti-solar point'. 

At sunrise or sunset, a rainbow's centre, the antisolar point, is on the horizon. The means the rainbow is half in the sky, and we get to enjoy a nice big semicircle.  Later in the morning, as the sun rises the rainbow's centre sinks. Eventually when the sun has reached an angle of 42º ,  only the tip of the bow is visible above the horizon.  The lower the sun, the higher in the sky the rainbow will be.  So, big beautiful bows are spotted early in the morning or later in the afternoon when the sun is relatively close to the horizon.

PS: Grandma Says: if you dig a hole where the rainbow meets the Earth, you'll find a pot of gold!

 

Chief Meteorologist

Cindy Day