The Universe and Me

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

A fantabulous night

While leafing through July’s copy of Astronomy magazine, I saw an article about lunar rainbows or moonbows, rainbows visible at night. I wasn’t aware they existed. They occur less than ten percent as often as normal rainbows and are coloured the same but their light is too dim to activate colour sensors in our eyes and appear ghostlike white or black. They form when moonlight strikes drops of falling rain in the sky opposite the moon. The raindrops act like a prism and reflect or refract the light. Summer full moons, bright and low in the sky, are best for creating moonbows. Usually they’re obscured by pollution.


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