Catch the light! Snail Mail #16 is printed

What if I told you that there was a way to see a rainbow without waiting for the perfect rain? That’s right, it’s totally possible! Get ready to do a little bit of science! This is one of several activities included in Snail Mail #16, available for download here.

Here’s what you’re going to need:

A shallow pan,
A flashlight like the one on a phone, or the perfect beam of sunlight,
A mirror,
And a piece of white paper.

The setup is pretty simple:

  1. Fill the pan halfway full with water
  2. Place the mirror the water at an angle,
  3. Shine the light into the water so it hits the mirror
  4. Fold this issue in half and hold the blank paper above the mirror.

When everything is lined up correctly, you’ll be able to project a rainbow onto the paper!

How is this happening?
Believe it or not, white light contains all the colors The surface of the water acts like a prism that splits up the white light from the flashlight into each individual color. The role of the mirror is to reflect each color back up so we can see it on the paper!