Typically Mother Nature decides when we get to see a rainbow. College professor and artist Michael Jones McKean isn’t exactly the patient type, so he made a machine that generates two-story rainbows with the flip of a switch. (Pics)
McKean, a professor at Virginia Commonwealth University, has been conducting experiments on rainbows since 2002. He’s finally seeing the fruits of that labor in the form of some serious man-made rainbows. Like ones that span entire buildings. You’d think that after 8 years of rainbow research you’d be bouncing rainbows off the moon or something, but hey, I’m not scientist.
His rainbow machine is comprised of commercial jet pumps and custom-designed nozzles that spray a dense wall of water into the sky—it’s the same as how you can get a rainbow from the sprinkler in your backyard, just on a much more impressive scale.
McKean’s current machine is a prototype for one he will install on the roof of the Bemis Center for Contemporary Arts in Omaha, Nebraska this summer. It’ll shoot two rainbows a day for 15 minutes, visible up to 1000 feet away. And that machine will have the distinction of mimicking nature solely with the stuff nature provides: it’ll only spray collected rainwater and run exclusively on solar power.