Weather Wise Kids: Pot of Gold at the end of a Rainbow

3-year-old Aryanna wants to know if there’s a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow?

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!  A time to wear green…  and head downtown to the parade in Savannah.  A few… may even celebrate the holiday by searching for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.  But they’ll never find it.

It’s just a legend.  A big misunderstanding, actually.

While many of us have seen a rainbow, few have been lucky enough to see where it ends.  That’s because rainbows are formed when sunlight hits droplets of rain.  To do this, the sun has to be within 42 degrees of the horizon, either rising or setting.  That’s pretty low.  It means we never get to see the full circle of a rainbow.  We just see the top arc.

Even as far back as the 1600s, the Irish knew this.  They were, however, fond of saying that one was as likely to find a pot of gold as to find the end of a rainbow.  A saying that has some still looking to this day…
 

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