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A Mathematical Nature Walk by John Adam

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images   Appendix 2

Answers to questions 1–15

Q.1:     You are looking at a single bright rainbow (the primary bow). Which color is on the top side of the arch?
Answer:    Red. The violet light is deviated more than the red light as a result of being refracted and reflected inside the drop. Consequently, as viewed by the observer, the red portion of the rainbow appears closer to the Sun (in an angular sense).
 
Q.2:    How many colors do you think there are in a typical rainbow?
Answer:    Well, it isn't seven! The old ROYGBIV or VIBGYOR are useful mnemonics for the rainbow colors, but, in fact, there are, mathematically at least, an infinite ...

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