Diffraction Through a Spiderweb


Spaced as thin as they are, the strands of a spider's web act as a diffraction grating, creating a rainbow in the morning sunlight.
Image Credit: Stephen Skolnick, Licensed under CC by-nc-nd

July 29, 2015

This spiderweb bears a strong resemblance to a CD for a reason--the back of a digital storage disc reflects an array of rainbow colors thanks to the tight spiral of data that's laser-carved into it. In a similar way, constructive and destructive interference of light passing through the dew that's condensed on the web leads to the prismatic effect you see here, visible both on the web itself and in the purple-tinted light that reaches the camera's lens.