- Cambridge Science Universe (D. Jollands, ed) Vol 3: Sight, Light and Colour (CUP 1984), pp 18-19
- An outstandingly well-presented explanation, including good photographs and diagrams; aimed primarily at younger readers. (Note, however, that the angle of the secondary bow is incorrectly given as 52°-54.5°, rather than 50°-53°.)
[US edition: Science Universe Series (Arco Publishing Inc. 1984) ISBN 0-668-06177-4]
- Dawkins, R. Unweaving the Rainbow (Allen Lane/Penguin 1998), pp 44-49
- Contains a characteristically engaging and lucid description of most aspects of the phenomenon. Mentions, but does not explain, the "rainbow angle" of 42°, which determines where the rainbow is seen.
- Lynds, Beverly T. About Rainbows
- An excellent presentation, notable for its clarity and its detailed discussion of Descartes' pioneering analysis in the 17th century. Contains a comprehensive list of references and on-line links (which are therefore not repeated here, except for Wicklin & Edelman).
- Nave, Carl R. (Rod), Primary and Secondary Rainbows
- Forms part of the clear and informative Hyperphysics website. Includes some attractive colour photos, labelling the various features of rainbows.
- Wicklin, F.J. and Edelman, P. Circles of Light:
The Mathematics of Rainbows
- An accessible mathematical treatment of the underlying physics. Presupposes a grasp of basic calculus for:
- the derivation of Snell's law of refraction from Fermat's minimum-time principle
- the determination of the minimum angle of deflection (the "rainbow angle")
- Contains a table of refractive indices. Includes an interactive model (similar to our Excel diagrams) that can be run on-line.
If you find this model useful, you may also like to look at our MS-Excel version (and extension) of Dawkins' model of natural selection.