Two people never see the same rainbow - FOX 8 WVUE New Orleans News, Weather, Sports, Social

Two people never see the same rainbow

The rainbow you see isn't the same one that someone else sees. (Source: John Snell) The rainbow you see isn't the same one that someone else sees. (Source: John Snell)
NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) -

When standing by a loved one or friend, gazing in awe at a rainbow, remember one little scientific quirk to that moment. You are not really seeing the same rainbow.

It turns out rainbows are a personal experience and no two people ever see exactly the same light bending, awe inspiring prism of water droplets.

A rainbow is merely sunlight spread out over its spectrum of colors and diverted to the eye.

What diverts them? Water droplets, usually after rainfall, floating in the air.

As light passes into the droplet, a NASA website explains, "the light bends, or refracts, a little because light travels slower in water than in air."

Water is denser than air.

"Then the light bounces off the water droplet and goes back the way it came," the website explains, "bending again as it speeds up when it exits the water droplet."

Because two people standing next to each other see the light bouncing off raindrops from different angles, no two people ever see exactly the same rainbow.

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