Some rainbows are white


Image: Delinda, Ocean Beach Chronicle

Some rainbows are white and are called white rainbows or fogbows. The image above was captured in May 2018 near Ocean Beach in San Diego.

What do fogbows and rainbows have in common? What is different? What do you think might cause this difference? As the name implies, fogbows result from fog. When compared to rain, fog water droplets are much smaller, creating less diffraction and less visible color than rainbows. Fogbows can be completely white or contain faint traces of color. Many of the conditions necessary to create a rainbow, including the position of the sun (or light source), the viewer and the water droplets, are the same as with a fogbow.

Fogbows can bridge physical science and earth science through the crosscutting concepts.


Popular Science, What the heck are white rainbows, and where do they come from?

Mashable, White rainbows are the phenomenon you've never heard of

Physics Girl–YouTube, How rainbows with NO COLOR are possible

Earth and Space Science

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Why does the ocean turn red?

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