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Rainbows, Halos, Dawn, and Dusk

The Appearance of Color in the Atmosphere and Goethe's Theory of Colors

Johannes Kühl

184 pp.  
6" x 9"

Adonis Press




Rainbows, Halos, Dawn, and Dusk explores the captivating colors that appear in the atmosphere of the Earth—coronas, glories, halos, rainbows, dawn, and dusk. It invites readers to observe these ephemeral appearances with fresh attention and understanding. Moreover, it introduces us to little-known key experiences in Goethe’s life that were intimately related to his scientific pursuits and his deep experience of color.

Following the holistic phenomenological method developed by Goethe in his "Theory of Colors," this book bridges the broad gap between human experience and the conventional physics of atmospheric colors. The unfolding descriptions here assume an artistic quality through which our experience of color phenomena is deepened, while at the same time our scientific understanding is enhanced.

This book should prove helpful to scientists looking for a new approach to optics or an introduction to Goethe’s phenomenological science, to teachers looking for new ways to present optics lessons, and to anyone who loves the colors of nature and wishes to deepen their relationship to them.



1. On Seeing
2. Coronas and Glories: order in diffraction phenomena
3. Halos and Rainbows: on the prismatic colors ?
4. The Blue Sky and the Setting Sun: on colors of twilight and colors of turbidity
5. An Overview of Atmospheric Colors?
6. On the “Sensory-Moral Effects” of Atmospheric Color?Phenomena?
7. Goethe’s Theory of Colors ?
8. The Theory of Colors in Goethe’s Biography ?
9. The Earth’s Atmosphere as the Natural Abode of Color?
10. Appendix: Aspects from the perspective of textbook physics


This book was originally published in German as Höfe, Regenbögen, Dämmerung (Freies Geistesleben, 2011).

Related Titles

  • Colour : (CW 291)
  • The Individuality of Colour : Contributions to a Methodical Schooling in Colour Experience
  • Colour : Seeing, Experiencing, Understanding

    Related Titles by Subject:

    Arts & Literature: Goethean Studies and Science & Nature: Goethean Studies