Sunday, September 26, 2010

Moonbow Glow

So, uh, I just happened to be staring up into the sky around midnight the other day, and noticed that there was this gigantic halo encircling the full moon. Something I've certainly never seen before. Dragging my climatological knowledge from my memory, I can vaguely recall that the phenomenon is caused by the diffraction of light through a very high cloud layer (Around twenty thousand feet or higher.), of 'species' Cirrostratus nebulosus (That also means it's probably going to rain the following afternoon. And yes, clouds have species...). Yeah, I know too much about clouds, you don't need to tell me. At any rate, I've never seen any cloud formation at all produce an iridescent halo from the moon, reflecting the Sun's light. It's a strange sight. Like a rainbow, except instead of spanning from one part of the horizon to the other, it's just a complete circle. Essentially, that's all a rainbow really is; a big, giant halo. I think I'd like to term this particular specimen a moonbow. Pictures after the jump, folks.

Cameras can't exactly see it, so I had to do a lengthened exposure designed for taking images of stars with the camera mounted on a tripod... Except without the tripod.

Oh, look, a fifteen second exposure.

Here's thirty seconds.

Sixty seconds. By hand. Did I mention how awesomely steady my hands are?

The same exposure, re-rendered using Photoshop for better contrast. Awesome.

Okay, so enough of the self-flattery. At any rate, it's neat to see the phenomenon that surrounds us in the natural world. There's more to life than meets the eye!