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Facts about Rainbows For Kids


  • There are more than one hundred and forty different names for rainbows, named after the gods of various cultures around the world.
  • The rainbow is seen by many that believe in Christianity to be a sign of God’s promise that He will never again send destruction on Earth like he did before Noah entered the ark. Ancient Greeks believed that massive objects like mountains were made up of smaller rocks, so they used rainbows as dividers between these objects.
  • Natives of North America saw rainbows as paths for good spirits to take on their journey back home so they created legends about them, while people in some African nations believe each rainbow has an individual spirit living inside it.
  • A few Native American tribes, such as the Shoshone and the Apache, believed that rainbows were created by shooting stars and considered shooting stars to be signs of good luck. On the other hand, these very same tribes also believed that a double rainbow or a V-shaped rainbow was a sign that something bad was about to happen.
  • The Navajo culture has very interesting myths and legends about rainbows, including one story of how rainbows were created after Naayééʼ Neizghání (the Spider Man) saved his daughter from monsters by driving them away with pebbles of turquoise and shell. He threw these pebbles up into the sky and they became rainbows.
  • The Cree Indians of Canada believed that if you caught a rainbow it would give you great luck.
  • The ancient Greeks attributed the colors of the rainbow to cosmic forces while the ancient Chinese believed that rainbows were caused by pebbles in the sky exploding. Both ancient Greek and Chinese cultures believed that rainbows should not be crossed because they were associated with death, so they built temples over them to keep themselves safe from harm. The Greeks also believed the Rainbow Bridge was not for humans to use, so no one has ever crossed it since it was created.
  • The Hawaiian people were the first people to believe that rainbows were formed by dew or dew drops after the sun came up.
  • Artificial rainbows are created when one substance is reflected in another substance. For example, one can make a rainbow by “raining” glass onto mica, which gives the appearance of shimmering light. One can also make artificial rainbows with water droplets on mica or even on silver foil. The colors of these objects are often different than they would be in nature because most have some “colorless elements” added, such as titanium dioxide or aluminum oxide.
  • The first rainbow ever recorded was in the year of 322 BC, and it was purported to be caused by the clash of light produced by Alexander the Great‘s fleet.
  • Rainbows were also created by scientists in 1915 for a very brief time when they used radium to make a laboratory rainbow. This rainbow had a total of 764 different colors which were all brighter than others, but it soon faded away within a few hours and was not seen again.
  • Rainbows can be seen on planets and moons as well as in the sky. They usually only appear during certain times of day or certain seasons, depending on where they are formed and how rain is falling at that time of year. On Earth, rainbows are most often seen just after the sun has set or just before it rises.
  • The word “rain” refers to the fact that the color of a rainbow is dependent on both “heavy” and “light” raindrops, which diffuses its colors. Lightly falling rain produces the white areas, while heavier types of rain make them appear green or blue. The more water vapor in earth’s atmosphere, the more colors in a rainbow. The more sunlight reflecting off of objects in Earth’s atmosphere, the brighter they are in a rainbow.
  • There is no scientific answer to why some come out orange or green while others are blue or violet. The only explanation is that refraction is very complex and depends on the size of each raindrop.
  • On rare occasions, it is possible for twisters to form rainbows while they are falling at 100 mph into the sea. The rainbow then takes on dark colors like orange or brown, instead of the usual lighter ones.
  • It does not matter what time of day it is when you look for a rainbow; they can appear at any time.
  • Rainbows are not seen in storms with winds greater than 40 mph or in snow storms (because snow does not produce many droplets).