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Why can’t we reach the end of a rainbow? © Getty Images

Why can’t we reach the end of a rainbow?

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Unfortunately that pot of gold is just joke played on you by the sun, the rain, and your own eyes.

Asked by: Tom Roberts, Liverpool


A rainbow isn’t a fixed object that hangs in the sky. It’s an illusion formed between the sunshine, the rain and your eyes. Light bounces out of the raindrops at an angle of 40° for red light, and 42° for blue. And that’s true wherever you stand, so as you move, the rainbow moves too and you can never catch it.


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luis villazon
Luis VillazonQ&A expert

Luis trained as a zoologist, but now works as a science and technology educator. In his spare time he builds 3D-printed robots, in the hope that he will be spared when the revolution inevitably comes.


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