To understand how rainbows form, it is first necessary to understand the concept of color. Visible light is a small part of a huge scale of electromagnetic waves. Waves of visible light that have different wavelengths are different colors. The longer the wavelength, the closer to red. The shorter the wavelength, the closer to violet. White light is made up of all of the different wavelengths. Black is formed when none of them are present. White light can be refracted into the 7 main wavelengths that made it up: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet.

There are a few things that can separate light in that way. One is a prism, a specially shaped object of glass. The other is water droplets. When it rains, and the sun emits white light, the droplets refract the light into the main colors of visible light. This creates a rainbow. The most commonly used definition for the criteria for a rainbow is for the sun to shine while it rains, but any combination of water and light has the potential to create one.

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