Where do rainbows come from

Where is the end of the rainbow?

By Andreas Seeholzer

In Ireland there are little trolls called leprechauns. Unlike other fairy tale creatures, they don't want to have anything to do with people. They don't want to help, like brownies, for example, or play jokes like goblins, but simply to be left alone. They can often be found under bushes, smoking pipes or making shoes. It is said that they hid vast amounts of gold at the foot of the rainbow. But the leprechauns are stingy. It is said that you only have to find the end of the rainbow to get to the treasure. But that's not easy, because no one has ever found this place. But is that even possible? Let's take a look at how a rainbow is created.

How a rainbow is made

The daylight looks only white-yellow, but the most splendid colors are hidden in it. Because sunlight is made up of many different colors - the researchers call this wavelength. To create a rainbow, the sun must not be too high in the sky. The second requirement is heavy rain with thick drops. If it is still raining and the sun is already looking through the clouds, you can see a rainbow at the edge of the cloud and rain wall. The sun's rays of light are thrown back by the many raindrops, at the same time the light in the water droplets is refracted, and the individual colors of the sunlight are deflected to different degrees and thus no longer hit our eyes as a white bundle, but side by side. That is why you can see all the colors of the sun: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and purple. Sometimes, in addition to the first rainbow, a second, weaker secondary rainbow with a reversed color sequence can be seen. In this case, the light is reflected twice in the raindrop and only then reaches our eyes. You can also create rainbows yourself on a sunny day. When you have the sun behind you and spray water into the air with a garden hose, you can see a small, iridescent and homemade rainbow.

The Leprechaun's Treasure

And now back to the leprechaun's treasure. As we saw above, the rainbow depends on where we are. If we change our location, the rainbow also changes. So it is not even possible to get to the end of the rainbow. That a treasure lies there is just a fairy tale. Or have you ever seen a leprechaun?