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Neil deGrasse Tyson honors Orlando shooting victims with facts about rainbows

Renowned scientist Neil deGrasse Tyson finds a subtle and graceful way to pay his respects to the victims of the Orlando massacre.

Neil deGrasse Tyson.


Astrophysicist Neil deGrasse Tyson is incredibly active on Twitter, where he's argued against flat-Earthers and is behind a neverending series of humorous science tweets. Today, his Twitter feed is full of facts about rainbows. The messages are in honor of Sunday's shooting victims at the gay night club Pulse in Orlando, Florida.

Tyson's first tweet on the topic reads, "The exact Rainbow any of us sees in the sky is entirely our own -- a personal, yet communal gift from the laws of optics." He goes on to talk about the angular size of rainbows, Isaac Newton's groundbreaking work on optics and how we name the colors of the rainbow.

Tyson veers into the poetic with this message: "A Rainbow forms only broadside to your line of sight. That's why the pot of Gold at its base remains eternally out of reach." He even steps over into science fiction by discussing how blind character Geordi La Forge from "Star Trek: The Next Generation" would view a rainbow through his high-tech visor.

The series of tweets culminates with one final thought: "And sometimes you will find colors of the Rainbow on flags." Tyson tweeted a photo of the rainbow flag, a symbol of gay pride, with the seal for the City of Orlando next to it.

Other luminaries from the science, technology and writing world have commented on the Orlando massacre, which took the lives of 49 victims and left more than 50 wounded. "Harry Potter" author J.K. Rowling mourned the loss of a young man who worked on a Harry Potter theme ride at Universal Studios. Apple CEO Tim Cook denounced the shooting as an "act of terrorism and hate."