|Do rainbows also have ultraviolet bands and infra
red bands and we just dont see them?
|Question Date: 2004-10-22|
Yes, they must. However, the reason why they are
called ultraviolet and infrared is precisely that
the human eye does not see them.
Theoretically, yes, but there is one problem with
that, that being that water is opaque to both the
ultraviolet and the infrared. Near infrared and
near ultraviolet (very close to being visible)
probably do have bands just as you describe them,
but farther afield the light gets absorbed.
Rainbows do have UV and IR bands. Rainbows are
the result of water droplets acting as a prism to
separate light (electromagnetic radiation). The
only difference between UV and IR light versus
visible light is the wavelength (and also the
frequency). People can't see these bands because
our eyes are not sensitive to the UV or IR.
However, it's probably worth nothing that these
bands might suffer from other effects in a
rainbow. For example, IR light may be absorbed by
atmospheric molecules, and the UV light may be
scattered a bit more. In fact, I believe you can
photograph the UV bands with a camera, provided
that there are no optics in the camera that filter
Yes, they do. A chemistry professor who answered
a question just like yours on the internet says
that you can see the ultraviolet band in a black
and white photograph of a rainbow because the film
is sensitive to UV light. I haven't tried this
myself, but maybe you can try it at home! Next
time you see a rainbow, take a photograph using
color film and take another using black and white
film and then compare the photos. You should see
an extra band in the black and white photo. Just
make sure that you use a camera without a UV
filter. Have fun!
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