How to Remember the Order of the Rainbow Colors

What's an easy way to remember the order of the rainbow colors?
What's an easy way to remember the order of the rainbow colors? | Source

When drawing a rainbow, how do you know which colors go where? Luckily, there is an easy way to remember the order in which the colors of the rainbow go.

Light refracts and reflects through a raindrop, creating a rainbow.
Light refracts and reflects through a raindrop, creating a rainbow. | Source

What Causes a Rainbow?

Once you understand what causes a rainbow, you'll understand that the order of the rainbow colors isn't a random jumbling of colors that simply looks good.

A rainbow is created by something called light refraction. The color of light is actually made up of all the colors of the rainbow. As light rays travel through the air, to us they appear as white light. When sunlight hits an object, such as mist or raindrops, the rays are refracted, or bent, and then reflected off the inside of the drops. The angle of bending is different for different wavelengths of light. We observe the different wavelengths as different colors. The color red bends the most and violet the least.

A rainbow will always be in the opposite side of the sky as the sun from the observer. The rainbow colors are reflected to the eye at 42 degrees to the original ray of sunlight. Seeing a rainbow all depends on the angle of the sun in relation to where you are. This means that two people will never see the exact same rainbow!

Who is Roy G. Biv?

I would like to introduce you to someone that will become your best friend when remembering the order of the colors of the rainbow. His name is Roy G. Biv. Roy G. Biv is actually an acronym for the colors of the rainbow.

R = Red

O = Orange

Y = Yellow

G = Green

B = Blue

I = Indigo

V = Violet


A note about the color indigo: Originally, Newton described only five primary colors of the rainbow. He later added orange and indigo. It is said that he added these colors so that there would be seven colors to match the seven notes in a musical scale. Some later color theorists chose to replace indigo and violet with a single hue: purple or violet. Some people are adamant about removing indigo from the rainbow colors. I personally like the look of the seven colors, as pictured above. Some people today choose to call Newton's blue cyan and indigo blue. This is up to your discretion.

A Song to Help Remember the Order of the Rainbow Colors

Here is the first paragraph of the lyrics. These are going to be the most important lines you'll want to remember.

Roy G. Biv by Neel and Patty Shukla

Here's a little song about Roy G. Biv. He makes up all the colors that you see where you live. If you know all the colors, sing them with me: red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet all that you see.

If you remember the first three lines of this song, you'll have the order of the rainbow colors down cold. And trust me, this song will get stuck in your head. Good luck, and say hi to our friend Roy G. Biv for me!


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Comments 5 comments

Green Art profile image

Green Art 3 years ago

What a fun hub about remembering the colors of the rainbow! I will have fun teaching these ideas and songs to my grandson of five.

The photographs used here are amazing. Love the one with the rainbow stretched across the sky. Great hub, voted up and useful!

teacher 3 years ago

Richard Of York Gain Battle In Vain-

theera 19 months ago

It's really help me for know the how to remembering the order of rainbow colors. ..

roy g.biv.

isabirye fredrick busesa 17 months ago

Run Out Your Girl Betty Is Vomitting

Rodney Thompson 5 weeks ago

You say Red bends the most and violet the least. However your diagram indicates otherwise and the sites for 'refraction' all state that red bends the least and violet the most. I think you must be wrong.

Yours Rodney

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