Rainbow in night sky drawing arch of happiness captured in Ishigaki

Rainbow in night sky drawing arch of happiness captured in Ishigaki

Moonbow appearing in the night sky due to a full moon around 8:50 p.m.(Photograph provided by the Ishigaki astronomical observatory).  


October 18, 2016 Ryukyu Shimpo

The national Ishigaki Island astronomical observatory succeeded in capturing images of a rainbow that appeared in the moonlight at 7 p.m. on October 16. The astronomical observatory explained the occurrence as “a rare phenomenon that requires a dark night sky and clean air.” A sky-monitor camera captured the large rainbow for about 15 minutes from 7:06 p.m. in the sky above Taketomi Island and Kohama Island. The camera also captured an arch-like rainbow around 8:50 p.m.

This phenomenon, in which a rainbow appears due to moonlight reflecting off water in the air is called a “moonbow.” Such rainbows appear white and faded unless a camera is used. The photo was taken using a high exposure.

The observatory stated, “If lights from the town were too bright it would not have been visible because of the reflection. This phenomenon was possible because it was in Yaeyama. The moonbow is believed to invite happiness. It was seen one year after the Great East Japan Earthquake as well. We hope happiness will soon come to the disaster-affected areas like Kumamoto and Iwate.’”

(English translation by T&CT and Sayaka Sakuma)

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