ddhr.org | 2014 | 04 | 29 about | archives | comments | rss

Rainbows aren't real Tue, Apr 29, 2014
Filmmaker Sergio Toporek is credited with the following quote: 
The existence of the rainbow depends on the conical photoreceptors in your eyes; to animals without cones, the rainbow does not exist. So you don't just look at a rainbow, you create it.
It's part of a larger quote often titled "We Originated in the Belly of a Star" and often attributed to no one.  Or NASA.  It's confusing. 

As Alotta Hooey discusses, it's only partly true.  It's true that human eyeballs have photoreceptors that allow us to see in color, while many animals can see fewer colors or none at all.  So they would still see a rainbow, but it would be gray. 

However, it's not true that we create rainbows.  Rainbows happen because of light, refraction, and observation angle.  But it raises an interesting idea, related to the observer's paradox, which is the "phenomena where the observation of an event or experiment is influenced by the presence of the observer/investigator".  You can only see a rainbow under a certain set of circumstances.  Stand in the wrong spot, and it's not there.  Try to reach the end, and you'll never get there.  So the presence of a rainbow has a lot to do with the location of the observer, which is almost like the observer creates it. #science


← older post 2808 of 3123 newer →