"" Writer's Wanderings: The Moonbow

Thursday, July 07, 2011

The Moonbow



Always on the lookout for new and unusual places to visit, I came across a place near Corbin, Kentucky, where instead of a rainbow, you can see a moonbow--an arched prism of color created by the moon. It happens when conditions are right at the Cumberland Falls State Resort Park and there is a full moon. (Go to the Moonbow website for the actual pictures. Mine is of just a generic rainbow picture.)

The Cumberland Falls are deep within the Daniel Boone National Forest where there are no urban lights to obscure the interaction between the mist and the angle of the moon beams that create the phenomenom. When mist from the falls refracts the light from the moon, it makes a rainbow-like arc that is a photographer's dream according to the website.

Victoria Falls in Africa also experiences a moonbow and at certain seasons, conditions permitting, a moonbow can be seen at Yosemite Falls in California. It is said that on rare occurences a moonbow can faintly be seen at Niagra Falls but I'm guessing that the night lights there would wash out the natural phenomenon.

The good news is that you don't have to stay up all night to see it. Apparently the best time to see a moonbow is just after the moon has cleared the ridge of the Falls. It usually happens about an hour after night fall and the conditions are right beginning two nights before a full moon. After that, for the next three nights you add about 30 minutes more each day since the moon rises progressively later each night.

The website gives you the best times to see the moonbow according to the lunar calendar. Sounds like an item for my travel bucket list.

2 comments:

Lori said...

I want to go, too!

Karen said...

And I would want to see your pictures!!

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