Moonbow, Milky Way, meteor

The entire universe in blog form
Oct. 21 2012 7:00 AM

Moonbow, Milky Way, meteor

If you've read this blog before, then all I really need to tell you is that Thierry Legault took a picture.

Phil Plait Phil Plait

Phil Plait writes Slate’s Bad Astronomy blog and is an astronomer, public speaker, science evangelizer, and author of Death From the Skies!  

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While in Queensland, Australia, Thierry took this shot of Wallaman Falls. While the Milky Way shone down, a meteor zipped past, adding to the drama. But what's that at the bottom? A rainbow? At night?

Yup. Well, kinda. It's a Moonbow, the same thing as a rainbow but with the Moon as the light source. Well, and it's not raindrops that cause it, but aerosolized water droplets acting as little prisms, breaking the light up into the usual colors. Moonbows are very faint, but they show up in long exposures like this one.

Leave it to Thierry to not be satisfied with just our galaxy, a bit of interplanetary debris vaporizing, and a waterfall in his shot. Amazing.

He has more pictures from that trip, and yeah, you want to see them. His photos have been on this blog so many times I can't even list them, but check out the Related Posts below, click the links, then click the links at the bottom of those posts (or you can use my search engine). It's a journey that'll widen your eyes.

[UPDATE: Thanks to pixguyinburbank on Twitter, I learned of a wonderful video about moonbows put out by the folks at Yosemite National park in the US. It's so good I'll just add it here so you can see it. Fantastic!


Enjoy!]

Image credit: Thierry Legault, used by permission.



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