On this Day:
In 2017, the world’s longest recorded rainbow at 8 hrs 58 min was observed in Taipei’s Yangmingshan mountain range.
A rainbow is a meteorological phenomenon that is caused by reflection, refraction and dispersion of light in water droplets resulting in a spectrum of light appearing in the sky. It takes the form of a multicoloured circular arc. Rainbows caused by sunlight always appear in the section of sky directly opposite the Sun.
Rainbows can be full circles. However, the observer normally sees only an arc formed by illuminated droplets above the ground, and centered on a line from the Sun to the observer’s eye.
In a primary rainbow, the arc shows red on the outer part and violet on the inner side. This rainbow is caused by light being refracted when entering a droplet of water, then reflected inside on the back of the droplet and refracted again when leaving it.
In a double rainbow, a second arc is seen outside the primary arc, and has the order of its colours reversed, with red on the inner side of the arc. This is caused by the light being reflected twice on the inside of the droplet before leaving it.
A rainbow is not located at a specific distance from the observer, but comes from an optical illusion caused by any water droplets viewed from a certain angle relative to a light source. Thus, a rainbow is not an object and cannot be physically approached. Indeed, it is impossible for an observer to see a rainbow from water droplets at any angle other than the customary one of 42 degrees from the direction opposite the light source. Even if an observer sees another observer who seems “under” or “at the end of” a rainbow, the second observer will see a different rainbow—farther off—at the same angle as seen by the first observer.
Rainbows span a continuous spectrum of colours. Any distinct bands perceived are an artefact of human colour vision, and no banding of any type is seen in a black-and-white photo of a rainbow, only a smooth gradation of intensity to a maximum, then fading towards the other side. For colours seen by the human eye, the most commonly cited and remembered sequence is Isaac Newton’s sevenfold red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet, remembered by the mnemonic Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain (ROYGBIV). The initialism is sometimes referred to in reverse order, as VIBGYOR.
Rainbows can be caused by many forms of airborne water. These include not only rain, but also mist, spray, and airborne dew.
Rainbows occur frequently in mythology, and have been used in the arts. One of the earliest literary occurrences of a rainbow is in the Book of Genesis chapter 9, as part of the flood story of Noah, where it is a sign of God’s covenant to never destroy all life on Earth with a global flood again. In Norse mythology, the rainbow bridge Bifröst connects the world of men (Midgard) and the realm of the gods (Asgard). Cuchavira was the god of the rainbow for the Muisca in present-day Colombia and when the regular rains on the Bogotá savanna were over, the people thanked him offering gold, snails and small emeralds. Some forms of Tibetan Buddhism or Dzogchen reference a rainbow body. The Irish leprechaun’s secret hiding place for his pot of gold is usually said to be at the end of the rainbow. This place is appropriately impossible to reach, because the rainbow is an optical effect which cannot be approached.
Rainbows appear in heraldry – in heraldry the rainbow proper consists of 4 bands of color (Or, Gules, Vert, Argent) with the ends resting on clouds. Generalised examples in coat of arms include those of the towns of Regen and Pfreimd, both in Bavaria, Germany; and of Bouffémont, France; and of the 69th Infantry Regiment (New York) of the Army National Guard (USA).
Rainbow flags have been used for centuries. It was a symbol of the Cooperative movement in the German Peasants’ War in the 16th century, of peace in Italy, and of gay pride and LGBT social movements since the 1970s. In 1994, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and President Nelson Mandela described newly democratic post-apartheid South Africa as the rainbow nation. The rainbow has also been used in technology product logos, including the Apple computer logo. Many political alliances spanning multiple political parties have called themselves a “Rainbow Coalition”.
Pointing at rainbows has been considered a taboo in many cultures (per Wikipedia).
First, a Story:
Once I was caught stealing a rainbow.
I ended up getting thrown in prism…
Second, a Song:
Yo-Yo Ma (born October 7, 1955) is an American cellist. Born in Paris, France, to Chinese parents and educated in New York City, he was a child prodigy, performing from the age of four and a half. He graduated from the Juilliard School and Harvard University, and has performed as a soloist with orchestras around the world. He has recorded more than 90 albums and received 18 Grammy Awards.
In addition to recordings of the standard classical repertoire, he has recorded a wide variety of folk music, such as American bluegrass music, traditional Chinese melodies, the tangos of Argentine composer Astor Piazzolla, and Brazilian music. He has collaborated with artists in diverse genres, including singer Bobby McFerrin, guitarist Carlos Santana, Sérgio Assad and his brother, Odair, and singer-songwriter-guitarist James Taylor. Ma’s primary performance instrument is a 1733 Montagnana cello valued at US$2.5 million.
He has been a United Nations Messenger of Peace since 2006. He was awarded The Glenn Gould Prize in 1999, the National Medal of Arts in 2001, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2011, and the Polar Music Prize in 2012.
Ma was named one of Time magazine’s 100 Most Influential People of 2020.
Kathryn Stott (born 10 December 1958) is an English classical pianist who performs as a concerto soloist, recitalist and chamber musician. Her specialities include the English and French classical repertoire, contemporary classical music and the tango. She teaches at the Royal Academy of Music and Chetham’s School of Music and has organised several music festivals and concert series.
Grove Music Online describes Stott’s playing as “marked by a vivid sense of immediacy and personal communication.” A review of her fiftieth birthday gala concert in The Times describes her as “one of the most versatile pianists on the circuit”.
“Over the Rainbow” is a ballad composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Yip Harburg. It was written for the 1939 film The Wizard of Oz and was sung by actress Judy Garland in her starring role as Dorothy Gale. It won the Academy Award for Best Original Song and became Garland’s signature song.
About five minutes into the film, Dorothy sings the song after failing to get Aunt Em, Uncle Henry, and the farmhands to listen to her story of an unpleasant incident involving her dog, Toto, and the town spinster, Miss Gulch (Margaret Hamilton). Aunt Em tells her to “find yourself a place where you won’t get into any trouble”. This prompts her to walk off by herself, musing to Toto, “Some place where there isn’t any trouble. Do you suppose there is such a place, Toto? There must be. It’s not a place you can get to by a boat, or a train. It’s far, far away. Behind the moon, beyond the rain…”, at which point she begins singing.
Here is Yo-Yo Mah and Kathryn Stott performing “Over the Rainbow”. I hope you enjoy this!
Thought for the Day:
“The way I see it, if you want the rainbow, you gotta put up with the rain.” – Dolly Parton
Have a great day!
Dave & Colleen
© 2021 David J. Bilinsky and Colleen E. Bilinsky