Rainbow physics revealed, according to a report in e! Science News, 7 December 2011 and ScienceShots 12 December 2011.

The colours of the rainbow are the result of light being both refracted and reflected within drops of water. This has been known for hundreds of years, ever since Isaac Newton and Rene Descartes carried out experiments with light. However, computer scientists aiming to produce realistic simulations of natural rainbow phenomena, such as double rainbows, were unable to do so using computer models with spherical raindrops. Then real-world research showed that falling raindrops are not actually spherical. Air pressure distorts them so that they are flatter on the bottom. The research team called these flattened drops “burgeroids”. Henrik Wann Jensen, a computer scientist who led the study explained: “It’s not a very mathematical term, but we like to use it”.

When they investigated how light was reflected and refracted in burgeroid shapes, rather than spheres, they found they could simulate double rainbows. The researchers were also able to simulate other natural rainbow phenomena, such as cloud bows that form in fog and red bows that form at sunset, using water droplets of varying shapes and sizes.

Philip Laven, an expert in rainbows commented: “The simulations shown in this paper offer the prospect of a better understanding of real rainbows. I hope that the next step will be to use these new techniques for a systematic investigation of rainbows caused by realistically shaped rain drops”.

Editorial Comment: Isn’t it marvellous what you find out when you study the minutiae in God’s creation, such as the shape of raindrops? The fact that it took a team of physicists and computer scientists to simulate rainbows reminds us there is nothing chance or random in any “natural” phenomenon.

The first rain, and therefore the first “burgeroid” drops, didn’t fall until Noah’s flood. Therefore, distinctive double rainbows high in the clouds would not have been seen until then. Whenever, we see a rainbow we should remind ourselves the first rain was sent in judgement on man’s sin, but God in his mercy now sends rain to water the ground and replenish the earth, and has promised not to send another world wide flood. God made the rainbow the sign of this promise, so whenever we see a rainbow we should give thanks that God is keeping His promise, but remind ourselves that God’s judgement is real and we still need His mercy.

Rainbows are made of light, and Jesus Christ, the One who saves us from God’s judgement called himself the Light of the World. If you have put your trust in Him, one day you will see Him in glory, seated on the throne in heaven surrounded by a rainbow, (Revelation 4:3), but there will be no burgeroids raining down on you.

Evidence News 11 July 2012

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