We see rainbows after rainfall on earth... According to my understanding a rainbow is formed as a result of scattering of light....Then is it possible that we can be able to see a rainbow on the moon?

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ You don't see rainbows after rainfall. A rainbow is light that is refracted and reflected back toward you when you look at falling raindrops with the sun behind your back. Q: Does it ever rain on the moon? (Hint: see @Abhijeet's answer, below). $\endgroup$ Apr 20, 2015 at 17:26
  • $\begingroup$ Clarification question: Are you on the moon, or is the rainbow? It's not impossible that you could see an Earth rainbow on the Moon (that is, from the Moon). But there are no rainbows themselves on the Moon $\endgroup$
    – Jim
    Apr 20, 2015 at 17:30
  • $\begingroup$ Do you by any chance mean "Can we see a rainbow due to light emitted from the Moon, scattered in the raindrops here on Earth"? $\endgroup$
    – pela
    Apr 20, 2015 at 18:09
  • $\begingroup$ @pela That's called a moonbow, see here or here $\endgroup$
    – rob
    Apr 20, 2015 at 19:23
  • $\begingroup$ @rob: Thanks, I was just unsure if the OP was really referring to rainbows formed ON the Moon. Btw, nice pics :) $\endgroup$
    – pela
    Apr 20, 2015 at 19:53

4 Answers 4


Can we see a rainbow on the moon...?

Usually no. A rainbow is formed by light refraction in water droplets. On earth we typically see a rainbow during rain while it's sunny. As there is no atmosphere on the moon, there will be no rain and thus no rainbows. However, if you were to spray small water droplets on the moon you might see a rainbow (but the droplets will quickly evaporate in the vacuum).

...or any other celestial bodies?

In principal, sure. If you had a planet where there's (water) rain and sunshine you should be able to see rainbows just as on earth. If you're looking for extra-terrestrial rainbows within our solar system, I'm not quite sure: I don't know of anywhere else where there's water raining, but there are other forms of precipitation. And also droplets of other substances than water can refract light to form some sort of rainbow, though with other properties than "our" rainbows. Venus has sulfric-acid rain and on Titan it can pour methane, but Venus has a very thick atmosphere and Titan is already quite far away from the sun so it's not so sunny there and conditions for rainbows are probably bad.

  • $\begingroup$ But could we theoreticaly see a Earth's rainbow from the Moon? $\endgroup$
    – foggy
    Nov 17, 2015 at 20:00

Rainbows are caused by refraction into, total internal reflection , refraction away/ out of droplets, millions of water droplets on earth. ( They are visible at approx 47 degrees [sun -droplet-Eye or Camera] which we can find out from refractive index of water).

No atmosphere on moon, so no rainbow can be seen there by an observer there or recorded by a camera.

Earth similar conditions on any other planet to produce a rainbow may enable its formation.


NO, because moon has no atmosphere. And that's the reason also for that the moon's sky appears black.. Thanks :)


It's simple bcoz there is no atmosphere on moon ... So u can't see rainbow on moon or any other celestial bodies. .. I think u understood better...

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    $\begingroup$ The question is "is it possible that we can be able to see a rainbow on the moon?" and this post answers it with "So u can't see rainbow on moon or any other celestial bodies." That's very clearly an answer. It may be a badly written post, but that doesn't mean it doesn't answer the question. $\endgroup$
    – David Z
    Jul 27, 2017 at 21:19

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