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Attention: If this flash file is too big for you to watch it comfortably, just download it and watch it from the desktop :)

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In this huge guide I teach you how to understand, observe, photograph and paint optical phenomena of the sky! It covers the ordinary rainbow, a few special types of rainbows and the most common halos.
All pictures used in this guide are speedpaintings I made as I went along creating the individual pages.

Warning: You will never look at the sky with the same eyes again :aww:

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Edit: Here is the link to wolframalpha I talk about on page 7, so you can find out how the sun moves at your location.
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Daily Deviation

Given 2011-03-31
The Great Skywatcher Guide by *DarkSilverflame

This tutorial was suggested to receive a Daily Deviation by the following deviants:

*caninelove says, "It's more than just a tutorial, it's a complete and amazing guide, nice to look at and makes you want to start practicing right away!"

~aymiu says, "A really unique subject, very informational. This deviant wrote and drew all the words and diagrams and by doing so, the tutorial looks more friendly and we get to admire his wonderful handwriting."

~ParkJ says, "An amazing guide on rainbows and halos that left me speechless and made me want to go outside and look for them. It is well made, has a charming design and is the only one of it's kind I found on dA. It deserves to be seen!"

~Singarl says, "Enlightening in the true sense of the word!"

~namu-the-orca says, "This lovely tutorial explains and shows rainbows, halos and other beautiful phenomena of the sky like no other. Like the artist says: You will never look at the sky with the same eyes again."

( Featured by FantasyStock )
:iconmayebony:
MayEbony Featured By Owner Jun 26, 2014  Hobbyist General Artist
Oh wow.  This is the most interesting, and well-explained (and diagrammed) thing I've ever read.  Thank you so much for all of your knowledge, your willingness to share, and all of the hard work putting the tutorial together!
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jun 27, 2014  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you very much! :)
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:iconfree-to-be-gee:
free-to-be-Gee Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I love this thing. :dalove: Thank you :)
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure :)
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:iconkai-dragoness:
Kai-Dragoness Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
im surprised you didnt touch on the subject of moonbows!! but nonetheless this is quite the intricate tutorial
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Actually, I did, on page 3. But moonbows are the same as ordinary rainbows, just with a different light source.
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:iconkai-dragoness:
Kai-Dragoness Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
i could have sworn they just show directly around the moon though lol as a full circle, unless that was some other sky phenomena 
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Rainbows are not seen in the direction of the light source. What you are referring to was likely a 22° halo. Are you sure you actually read this guide? :D
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:iconkai-dragoness:
Kai-Dragoness Featured By Owner Aug 2, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
I read through it again, but when I googled 'moonbow' it showed images of rings around the moon so I was confused :X
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Aug 3, 2013  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Yeah, most people get these things wrong all the time.
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:iconkai-dragoness:
Kai-Dragoness Featured By Owner Aug 1, 2013  Hobbyist General Artist
oh i must have overlooked it :O
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:iconsaffraan:
saffraan Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012
Many many many points for shedding some light on the beauties of Physics! I only learned the a little bit of optics at school, I really learned a lot from your guide! (And with a lot more clarity than most of my Physics teachers)
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Nov 7, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks! I'm happy to hear you found it so useful :)
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:iconookaookaooka:
ookaookaooka Featured By Owner Oct 6, 2012  Student Traditional Artist
So 42 actually IS the answer to life, the universe, and everything . . .
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:iconjess--estrellafugaz:
Jess--EstrellaFugaz Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012
Do you happen to know why, if I take my glasses off and look at a light, I see things like those "sun pillars" you mentioned? It's like beams coming out from the light... But it works with anything, even inside where there are no crystals ^^
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Sep 11, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
I guess it's produced by the optics of your eye, not in the distance. I also see effects like that, especially when looking at the moon :)
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:iconpb1kenobi:
Pb1kenobi Featured By Owner Sep 1, 2012
The scientific presentation is most helpful. I can see there are some folks just experiencing the wonder of discovery.

Studying Physics many years ago, optics were my favorite topic. It was certainly fun to read this guide.

While living in Alaska, and watching the Aurora Borealis, I saw an epic solar pilar that extended beyond 90-degrees over my head. What a night.

Thank you for sharing.

Marko
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:iconprazzu:
Prazzu Featured By Owner Aug 10, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Way over my head but amazing nevertheless :)
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:iconglacierdragon:
GlacierDragon Featured By Owner Jul 30, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
This is really helpful and very well done, thanks ever so much for sharing! :>
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:iconefiras:
efiras Featured By Owner Jul 29, 2012  Hobbyist Photographer
I donīt need donwload this flash because Iīve got a 32" plasma monitor... ;)
NIce tutorial, I will put some things in practice wen I have time.
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:iconwolfgoddessemi:
WolfgoddessEmi Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Wonderful picture.You've talent...:love:
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
You do know this is a guide and not just a front picture, right? :P
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:iconwolfgoddessemi:
WolfgoddessEmi Featured By Owner Jul 26, 2012  Student Digital Artist
Thank you:It's a wonderful GUIDE XD
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:iconrainithehedgehog:
RainiTheHedgehog Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Hobbyist
I saw a sundog on the way home from my last day of school and I got a picture of it on my cell phone :D I still have it!!
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Awesome! :)
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:icongalaxy-squid:
Galaxy-Squid Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Student General Artist
This is absolutely beautiful! Wonderful job and I really have been looking at rainbows much closer now! Thank you
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:icondaedae13:
DaeDae13 Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Ive seen a circumzenithal arc before

Also 2 days ago
we saw a rainbow
and there was a lighter rainbow above it

Id say it was a double rainbow
except the darker one had
a whole bunch coming off of it

It was so cool!!!
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:iconmitsu-chiruno:
Mitsu-Chiruno Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Student General Artist
Wow, this is just... I have no words. I thought it would be too much for me to take in, but the photos, the words, the handwriting even... I actually learnt a lot! Thank you very much for posting this, I'm sure almost too many people will appreciate this!
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank you, and it was my pleasure :)
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:iconmitsu-chiruno:
Mitsu-Chiruno Featured By Owner Jul 7, 2012  Student General Artist
No problem :'D
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:icongrumpy-old-snake:
Grumpy-Old-Snake Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Student
Stilll reading through this, but might I say thank you? I always love any new chance to learn and this is very interesting! :D
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jul 5, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
My pleasure :)
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:iconundefinedreference:
undefinedreference Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
Related subject: why emeralds are green and rubies are red, while in both chromium is the "coloring agent". The answer is mighty interesting, to some at least:) A quick glance at your tutorial shows almost the exact same issues, except for the atom/crystal binding component of course. I always love it when people make difficult stuff accessible to us mere mortals.
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
It's not actually that simple, because the color is determined by quantum mechanics applied to atomic lattices, which governs the transmission and absorption properties for light hitting it. For example, if you have too much chromium in a ruby, the ruby turns green :)
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:iconundefinedreference:
undefinedreference Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
It has to do with electrons getting excited by incoming light and and falling back to their previous energy level. In a beryl crystal the forces are such that electrons are pushed to a higher energy level than in corundum, thus releasing a higher energy photon when they fall back. That's what I've learned. I have never heard of green ruby (as opposed to green sapphire, which contains traces of iron), and if it hasn't been made artificially by the Soviets I doubt it exists:).
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Whoever told you that is wrong, though. Things are more complicated than this. What you described is only the general mechanism of absorption and reemission of light, not what makes a ruby red and an emerald green (actually green-blue).
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:iconundefinedreference:
undefinedreference Featured By Owner Jun 21, 2012
Yes but the types of atoms in a crystal and the way they are arranged affects the forces between them, which in turn affect those basics, don't they. Which for me is enough of an explanation. I am not a physicist, but I know that the underlying physics are more complicated than that. Thanks.
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:iconkinglyninja:
KinglyNinja Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
So on my way home yesterday I actually managed to see a double rainbow. Naturally my first response was to call my mom and tell her....Anyways! I had read this little guide before and I remembered to look for Alexander's band and honestly I couldn't really notice a difference. The light above, in between, and below the rainbow all seemed the same? In one part of the rainbow it was like broken too as if someone had smeared the clouds down through the two rainbows.
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Jun 18, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Then it wasn't a clear rainbow, otherwise you would've seen the difference. And if the rainbow is broken somewhere, then that just means there was no water there :)
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:icongatitaz:
GatitaZ Featured By Owner Jun 11, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
I've seen a full double rainbow before, the inside of the main one was like a golden shield. I wished so bad that I'd had a camera! still do. lol
Great guide, I learned a lot.
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:icongdbck:
GdBck Featured By Owner May 26, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Very instructive !
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:iconkinglyninja:
KinglyNinja Featured By Owner May 13, 2012  Hobbyist Artist
I found this to be extremely interesting! I never knew all this stuff about rainbows. Next time I look at one in the sky I'm gonna try to notice all the stuff you pointed out like how it's darker above and lighter on the inside, I don't think I have ever noticed that.

Though I'm still gonna draw rainbows the way I always have. c: no shading and with a lil chibi face!
>u<
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:iconrainbowq:
RainbowQ Featured By Owner Apr 2, 2012
That's awesome! Really nice and informative(:
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:iconhorntail7:
horntail7 Featured By Owner Mar 28, 2012
This is really interesting and fun to read. You did a good job on explaining everything.
And, you're right, I'll never look at the sky with the same eyes again.
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:iconryesye:
RyeSye Featured By Owner Mar 26, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thank-you this was very informative and fun to read. Added to favourites
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:iconwanuggi:
Wanuggi Featured By Owner Feb 23, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
This guide is full of win! Our physics teacher also explained it for us last year and reading about it again makes me excited and inspired ^w^ I'm gonna draw rainbows like this from now on :D
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:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Feb 24, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks :)
I'm glad it was helpful ^^
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:iconravenshiddensoul:
RavensHiddenSoul Featured By Owner Feb 21, 2012
Holy carps, this is AMAZING.

I really love that example you used with the physicist and stars - I'd never heard that before. (So, stars create the world or, recreate it?! - forgive my melodramaticness; it truly astounded me!)
Would you mind if I quote that piece somewhere? I actually have an action/fantasy story [in progress] with a character who's born from a star, that was just mind-blowingly awe-inspiring and succinct. I loved it!

...Am I hallucinating when I can see under water? o.o
Or is eight-to-ten feet deep not enough for the refraction to have its full effect?

I didn't know "lunar bow" had its own name...~ That would be the ring of whole-spectrum light-colors I see around the full moon when it's cloudy, but only with thin/whispy stratus clouds?

...I've seen that "perspective" effect - it holds me entranced for a time when a hose or sprinkler creates a rainbow - and it looks/feels so transient, but it's right between that tree and that house...~

...It's like Physics class all over again, but you used the most amazing things and left out all the math - except the math that matters, how to find a rainbow. (I had no idea the angle there was so specific.) It's like Physics died and this is what its heaven-version looks like!

...and, wow. Even learning how sunset skies become so beautiful.

This is just absolutely amazing, thank you so much for sharing this!
Reply
:icondarksilverflame:
DarkSilverflame Featured By Owner Feb 22, 2012  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Hey there (:
Yes indeed, all the chemical elements that make up the world were produced in stars. That's what stars do, it's where their energy comes from. Our sun currently fuses hydrogen together and produces helium. Heavier stars produce elements up to iron, and when they explode, the energy in the explosion allows nuclei to fuse all the way through the rest of the periodic table. And it's in those explosions (supernovae) that the elements get spread around the galaxy, where they form into clouds and form new stars (and planets, and life). Every atom in your body was once in an exploding star.
For more awe, watch this video: [link] :)

You can't see under water, it's physically impossible. I mean you see the light, but everything is blurry. Our eyes are "constructed" in such a way that light needs to enter it from air. Only then will the refraction be right. Under water, the light enters from water into the eye, which bends the light differently. Diver's goggles work by providing a cavity of air in front of your eyes - the light enters the air through the glass and then from the air into your eyes. If you could see everything sharp under water, you wouldn't be able to see in air ;)

No, the lunar bow is a rainbow. What you are describing sounds like a corona: [link]

This is the beauty about physics! The reason I know all about this is because I calculated it. If you understand something fundamentally like this, you begin to look at it in a very different way. And if you study physics, more and more things about the world are added to this perspective as you go along. The same is true for the Earth. If you study geophysics and learn all about the structure and dynamics of the Earth, how continents, islands and volcanoes form, you suddenly look at the world in a very different way.

You might want to take a look at my science quiz and its solution: [link]

Thank you for your comment!
Have a good day :)
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:iconmaxongodes:
maxongodes Featured By Owner Feb 19, 2012
hey
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