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]


  1. Squirrel says:

    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. rallen71366 says:

    @Squirrel – Thanks, now I’m going to have to carry a protractor around. :)

  3. KingofPain says:

    But can you make a double rainbow? (ok, ok, sorry. it escaped before I could contain it.)

  4. Pilotgeek says:

    *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?

  5. humble reader says:

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

    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.

  6. DarkFader says:

    How many rainbows can you see with this? 12?

  7. Ivan says:

    Yes, but do they generate pots of gold also?

  8. Velli says:


    The artists are clearly agents of some diabolical government (as if there’s any other kind.)

  9. daydreamer says:

    why are there so many songs about rainbows

  10. Philip says:

    Anyone ever seen a rainbow upside down, I snapped a pic on my phone, will have to dig it out if its not normal.

  11. Duncan Domingue says:

    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. :)

  12. unforgiven says:

    pilotgeek nailed it; this is the dumbest quote-unquote hack I’ve ever seen on hack a day.

  13. ehrichweiss says:

    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.

  14. Bob says:

    You should be careful of rainwater, it’s full of dihydrogen monoxide.

  15. strider_mt2k says:

    Rainbows used to mean a covenant.

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

  16. FineousTrout says:

    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?

  17. smoker_dave says:

    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.

  18. Chris says:

    I’m going to be impressed when they do artificial sundogs

  19. Swankie says:

    they should add a black backdrop so the (double) rainbow can be seen much better.

  20. Jim Davies says:

    Who do I contact about creating a rainbow for a Project I am working on?

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