Circles of Light:
The Mathematics of Rainbows
How are rainbows formed? Why do they only occur when the sun is
behind the observer? If the sun is low on the horizon, at what angle
in the sky should we expect to see a rainbow?
This lab helps to answer these and other questions by examining a
mathematical model of light passing through a water droplet.
Next: Objectives of the Lab
This lab is based on a module developed by Steven Janke and published
in Modules in Undergraduate Mathematics and its Applications, 1992.
Support for the Curriculum Initiative Project at the
University of Minnesota
has been provided by a grant from the
National Science Foundation
(DUE 9456095) and by the Geometry Center.
Frederick J. Wicklin <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Paul Edelman <email@example.com>
The Rainbow Lab has been recognized as a quality educational site
by the following organizations:
Last modified: Tue Mar 11 15:00:22 1997