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I Just Learned About Moon Rainbows And They're Totally Beautiful

It's like something out of a science fiction movie.

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It's called a lunar rainbow, or, cutely, a moonbow.

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If you've seen a halo, or corona, around the moon, then you've seen a type of moonbow.

Flickr: 56279172@N04

Specifically, lunar halos are formed by moonlight refracting ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. Fun fact: Moon halos are always 22 degrees away from the moon!

If you're trying to spot a more distinct moonbow IRL, here are a few tips:

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2. Moonbows often appear white to the naked eye, because moonlight is dimmer than sunlight and doesn't trigger your eyes' color receptors with the same intensity.

3. "Spray moonbows" are pretty reliably seen near waterfalls, which fill the air with water droplets.

Flickr: 32782751@N07

Yosemite Falls in California, Cumberland Falls in Kentucky, and Victoria Falls in southern Africa are all good places to spot lunar rainbows. Go when there's a full moon!

Happy moonbow hunting!

  1. Have you ever seen a night rainbow?

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