Rare Photo of a 'Moonbow' Captured: What Causes These Astronomical Phenomena

First Posted: Oct 19, 2016 06:02 AM EDT

A rare photo of a 'moonbow' that was illuminating the night sky in North Yorkshire. The photo was taken by a photographer in the name of Ben Gwynne (@159photography). Gwynne took the photo on the Yorkshire Dales during the weekend and quickly shared it in his Facebook page after noticing the mesmerizing rare photograph of the 'moonbow.' "I have never seen something like this before! A moonbow. Taken Between Keighley and Skipton at 7:40PM. Very odd and very cool!" the owner of the photo wrote on his Facebook Post.

Rainbows during the night are formed as a result of the light from the moon's rays are reflected by raindrops instead of sunlight. This rare occurrence was accidentally captured by Gwynne while he was taking photos of the supermoon on the dark skies of Yorkshire. "We'd gone into the Yorkshire Dales to take pictures and stopped on our way back to take photos of the moon over some trees," Mr. Gwynne said on his statement with BBC. "I had never seen one before and getting to photograph it was even amazing."

Time and Date explains: moonbows are much similar to rainbows, but instead of being made with sunlight, moonbows are a product of light from the boon being reflected by raindrops in the air. Moonbows are much rare compared to rainbows because a variety of factors have to be in the right condition for moonbows to be created.

1. The moon has to sit very low in the night sky - must not exceed 42 degrees from the horizon

2. The moon has to be full or near full moon

3. Skies must be very dark for moonbows to be observed - light noise can obscure the view of a moonbow

4. Water droplets must be present in the atmosphere towards the opposite direction of the moon.

Moonbows are frequently appearing in some locations around the world and fewer on others. Most of these locations usually have waterfalls that creates layers of mist in the air which is a factor in the formation of moonbows.

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