David Burkhart

"Bike Reflector"

On a sunny day I was going home from a nice twenty-something mile bike ride, when I parked my bike I saw something interesting, it was a rainbow! I looked around wondering how that could have happened, I knew there had to be a prism reflecting light somewhere in the area. My bike reflector acted as a prism in which the light traveled through to make a beautiful rainbow on the dirt. Bikes often carry a reflector to usually reflect headlights back on a car so they see the bike, in this case my reflector carried the exact same qualities as a prism. The way a prism works is that natural sunlight, that humans once deemed as colorless before Isaac Newton, goes from air, then into the prism and is refracted at a certain angle. When the light is inside the prism, one would have to look hard to see the rainbow, but luckily, the light is refracted (bent) even more, at a larger angle and is distributed into different colors in a rainbow. The reason the colors come out as a “rainbow” is because sunlight has different wavelengths, red has the shortest wavelength and violet has the longest wavelength. The reason the colors in the rainbow are ordered by shortest wavelength to longest is also because on wavelength, the different colors refract in slightly different ways, red bends in the smallest angle, violet the largest. All of these things contribute to the rainbow in the picture.

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