Pots of Gold Not Included

As a Astropotamus, I understand that not everyone can see, and that not everyone who can see sees colors.  But if you can, then you can probably appreciate a rainbow.  This rainbow picture was taken one day under the very same sky that the Time Machine sits, so I was quite pleased with this image, snapped off the cuff, so to speak.

Did you know that rainbows are very fast time travelers?  Or rather, the light that makes the rainbow is a fast time traveler, I should say.  You see, rainbows are caused by light being refracted, or bent, by water in the air.  This is most common before, during, or after it rains, but it can happen at any time.  The most important thing is that the angle between you, the sun, and the water droplets in the air is about 40-42 degrees.

That’s because light from the sun, coming into the water droplet, bends in such a way that the red light bends faster than the blue light, and so the red light travels less distance through the water droplet than the blue light did.  In the end, we see colors coming out of the rainbow.  But in a sense, that same photon that started the trip through the water droplet was split and smushed and squeezed a bit until his head (the red part) arrived just ahead of his tail (the blue, or purple part).

Which means when we see his blue (or purple) tail, we’re seeing ever so slightly into the past.  The past when the red, orange, yellow, green, and blue parts all were one at the same time.*


Double Rainbow
Double Rainbow

*Of course, the photon is not really being smushed and squeezed and it’s not really traveling through time.  Since a rainbow is a continuous event, the red light from photon two arrives at the same time that the blue light from photon one is finally catching up, so we see a continuous spectrum over continuous time.  But it’s interesting to think that rainbows are time travelers, just like the Astropotamus!

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