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Moonbow

By: Martin Mc Kenna

 

Maghera, Northern Ireland

2008 July 19

 

Moonbow is a rainbow produced by the moon rather than the sun. Moonbows are relatively faint, due to the smaller amount of light from the Moon. They are always in the opposite part of the sky from the moon. It is difficult for the human eye to discern colors in a moonbow but the colors do appear in long exposure photographs. As noted by the photographer "It was the best moonbow I have ever seen in over a decade of astronomical observing. The near full Moon was low in the sky behind my back and in the north a frontal system brought regular heavy showers across the opposition point. As a result I witnessed about half a dozen very rare moonbows over the course of 1.5 hours. These bows were incredible with complete primary and secondary arcs, Alexander's dark band, and even supernumerary arcs. The magnitude and color was just as striking as any high quality day time bow. This will be a night I will never forget." The image is taken from Crewe Road, Maghera, Northern Ireland showing the moonbow and part of the Ursa Major. Martin Mc Kenna

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