Tag Archives: how rainbows form

Admiring Beautiful Rainbows

Ozark summers are a time of scattered showers. Sunset was close, clouds were drifting over. The light turned yellow turning the pastures in glowing gold. The perfect time for beautiful rainbows.

Rainbows happen when the sun is low in the sky shining toward a light shower. There was no shower, only hot and humid weather.

As the last goats finished eating, I watched the pastures glow under the yellow sky. The goats got done and went in. I headed to the chicken house to close them up for the night.

There it was: a rainbow.

A double rainbow
The main arc of color was vivid in this rainbow. The second arc was barely visible. Double rainbows are not unusual here.

This valley is a great place for beautiful rainbows. The valley runs north to south. The side valley runs west giving a break for the setting sun to stream through.

The east side in summer is tree leaf paved hillsides. These darken as the sun sinks behind the western hill.

The clouds had moved in from the west. They scudded over the valley laughing at my thirsty garden. Over the eastern hills the clouds stalled and dropped a steady, misty rain.

Sunlight hit those water drops reflecting and refracting inside them as inside a prism. The light split into colors and the rainbow arc wavered into being.

The rainbow strengthened until it was clear and strong arching over the hills. A second arc tried to appear above it but never quite showed more than a hint of color.

This rainbow set off the dark green hills and blue grey sky for five to ten minutes. Then the sun sank below the lip of the hill. The rainbow was gone as quickly as it appeared.

beautiful rainbows at sunset
This rainbow was a surprise. The small pasture is across from the porch and makes a great place to admire the rainbows.

Over the years we’ve seen many beautiful rainbows in this valley. Each has been special and held us in awe watching as they strengthened then vanished. Many have been doubles. One seemed to end in the north pasture.

Knowing something of how rainbows form is interesting. It doesn’t reduce the awe seeing a rainbow brings.

Find more about rainbows in Exploring the Ozark Hills.