“Moon rainbow” arc in the night sky–an omen of happiness? Previously unrecorded in Okinawa Island

“Moon rainbow” arc in the night sky--an omen of happiness? Previously unrecorded in Okinawa Island

“Moon rainbow.” Orange light below is from streetlights etc. (Photograph by Akira Oyama) =March 1, 2021

March 8, 2021 Ryukyu Shimpo


A rainbow in the night sky, called a “moon rainbow (gekkou),” appeared at Okuma Beach in Kunigami Village, Okinawa. Akira Oyama, age 57, who serves as a nature guide in the village succeeded in capturing a photograph of the rainbow on March 1. According to the Okinawa Regional Headquarters of the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), it is extremely rare for a “moon rainbow” to be observed, and according to a representative of the Headquarters, “I have never seen a record of [such a rainbow] being observed in Okinawa Island.” In 2016, a “moon rainbow” was observed by the Ishigaki Astronomical Observatory.


A “moon rainbow” appears by refraction of moonlight in water droplets in the atmosphere. It is said that this can only occur when the night sky is dark and the air is clear.


Mr. Oyama discovered the rainbow as he was on his way home from an advance visit to a location where he would be visiting as part of his guide activities. He says that at first it appeared as a white arch, but as the strong light of the moon came through from between the clouds, the arch changed to have seven colors. “In Hawaii, it is said that seeing a moon rainbow will bring happiness. It felt terrific,” said Mr. Oyama happily.


(English translation by T&CT and Sandi Aritza)



“Moon rainbow” (Photograph by Akira Oyama) =March 1, 2021


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