Man made rainbow uses ONLY sunlight and rainwater

This rainbow is and is not natural. It’s the product of rainwater and sunlight so in that respect it’s natural. But as you can see, it’s not raining. This is an art installation that uses captured rainwater, stored solar electricity, and irrigation equipment to float a heavy blanket of mist in the air. The prismatic effects of the suspended water particles separate the sunlight into various bands by wavelength and a rainbow springs into existence.

We’ve done this before with a garden hose in the back yard. It might be fun to try to build a version that recycles the water as this does, perhaps using a rain barrel as a reservoir. It would certainly be much easier than pulling off that water-based 3-D display we’ve been meaning to undertake.

[Thanks Xb0xGuru]

20 thoughts on “Man made rainbow uses ONLY sunlight and rainwater

  1. To see a rainbow:

    Be standing in between a sheet of falling water droplets and the sun
    Look directly away from the sun
    The rainbow will be at an angle of 42 degrees

  2. *sigh* – Really? I think we’ve all made our own rainbows with a garden hose as a kid, and this is just a glorified version of that. I mean, really, what’s the next “hack” going to be, hacking cardboard boxes to make a fort?

  3. The title is odd as rainbows are always
    ONLY rainwater and sunlight.

    @KingofPain
    I think all rainbows are “double” and even
    higher “harmonics” it’s just that the viewing
    conditions are rarely good enough; brightness,
    contrast… to see the double or higher modes.

  4. I’ve always said there’s a market for man-made rainbows. Just imagine getting married with a rainbow directly behind the altar (if getting wed outside, of course). Or what about bat mitzvahs? It seems worthwhile to me, too bad I don’t have the capital to start a rainbow-peddling company. :)

  5. Velli: I *attempted* to have a discussion with the rainbow conspiracy lady one time. She’s impossible to talk to. She’ll (obviously) disbelieve every single thing you tell her and eventually you figure out that it’s easier to beat your head against a wall than to deal with her at all.

  6. Rainbows used to mean a covenant.

    Then Rainbow and Covenant both split up and rock was never really the same again after that.

  7. Water+Sunlight?
    Weird thought tangent: would that work in a vaccuum? I’m thinking in a vaccuum the water would instantly boil off into ice crystals, and you’d get no rainbow. If that’s the case, then the air as a medium of droplet suspension is also essential to the formula: Water+Sunlight+Air=Rainbow. Anybody here ever seen a rainbow that was created in a vaccuum?

  8. It’s not a dumb hack at all.

    Yes you may have made a rainbow with a hose in the garden, and yes, the artist could have simply bolted a massive hose pipe to the side of the building and plugged it all into the mains.

    What we have here is “sustainable technology” / “sustainable art”. If you actually look at the big picture, you could learn a lot from this. Maybe not so much in the project content, but in the project ethos.

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