General Physics

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Joined: 1 Nov 2011
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1 Nov 2011 20:08:12 IST
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if we  observe rainbow from earth it is in the form of an arc.but if we observe it in aircraft it will be in circle. what is the reason behind this???

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Abhijeet Narang's Avatar

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Joined: 7 Oct 2011
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5 Nov 2011 19:23:59 IST
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this is because in an aircraft (which is completely surrounded by earth's atmosphere ) total internal reflection takes place from water vapors which are present both above and below the aircraft so we are able to observe the circular rainbow but when we are on surface water vapors are present only above us so we observe a circular arc
Bipin Dubey's Avatar

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Joined: 23 Jan 2007
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4 Mar 2012 14:15:28 IST
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It is a full circle, because the perfectly spherical water droplets in the air split the white sunlight into the spectrum which you see as a rainbow. The light comes in at an angle, and then reflects out at an angle. From your perspective on the ground, that angle exsists in a full 360 degree arc - a circle. You only see a semi-circle because either the earth gets in the way of seeing the rest, or because there isn't sufficient water suspended in the atmosphere to see the whole thing.

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