How Rainbows Work

Double rainbow at tunnels beach in Kauai, Hawaii
Rainbows are easily one of nature's most beautiful effects. M Swiet Productions / Getty Images

Rainbows are one of the most beautiful spectacles nature has to offer -- so beautiful, in fact, that they've inspired countless fairy tales, songs and legends. It's a good bet that most of the artists behind these tales were totally mystified by the rainbow phenomenon -- just like most people are today.

But the science of rainbows is really very simple. It's just basic optics! In this article, we'll find out how rain and the sun align to put color in the sky.