A rainbow is an optical and meteorological phenomenon that causes a spectrum of light to appear in the sky when the Sun shines onto droplets of moisture in the Earth's atmosphere. They take the form of a multicoloured arc, with red on the outer part of the arch and violet on the inner section of the arch. More rarely, a secondary rainbow is seen, which is a second, fainter arc, outside the primary arc, with colours in the opposite order, that is, with violet on the outside and red on the inside.
A rainbow spans a continuous spectrum of colours. Traditionally, however, the sequence is quantised. The most commonly cited and remembered sequence, in English, is Newton's sevenfold red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet. "Roy G. Biv" and "Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain" are popular mnemonics.
Rainbows can be caused by other forms of water than rain, including mist, spray, dew, fog, and ice. Moreover, rainbows can have shapes other than a bow (arc), including stripes, circles, or even flames. (See circumhorizontal arc).