How Everything Works
How Everything Works How Everything Works

Question 360

Why do you sometimes see a circular rainbow surrounding a light?
It is most often caused by the bending of light by mist around the light or by flaws in the optical components through which you are viewing the light. Whenever light passes through a clear material, its path bends. In most cases, you only notice that the light is distorted by its passage through the material. But different colors (wavelengths) of light bend by slightly different amounts so that the colors of light sometimes appear to come from slightly different directions. That's the origin of the rainbow you see.

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