|"Near" & "Far" Rainbows
Dan Bennett of Windsor, Colorado spotted this rainbow simultaneously in the sky and in the spray of a lawn sprinkler.
©Dan Bennett, shown with permission
Stretches from the eye with its axis pointing towards the antisolar point.
|Both bows are the same distance away - far away at infinity.
A popular misconception is that rainbows can be close or distant.
The water drops making a rainbow can be at any distance - or two distances as here - but provided the drops are the same size the rainbow always looks the same. It looks and behaves as though it is at infinity. It cannot be touched, tickled, walked around or driven through. It moves as you move and is forever unapproachable. The bags of gold at its ends are forever beyond reach.
|This sprinkler bow is in fact slightly broader than the bow in the sky. Nothing to do with the sprinkler drops being closer but everything to do with them being smaller. Smaller drops give increasingly broader rainbows.|
|The rainbow's rim is made by drops that happen to be near the cone's surface|
Drops can be near or far. It does not matter. The rainbow is always at infinity
|This drop, not on the cone, cannot send its rainbow rays to the eye.|