Moonbow over Cumbria heralds arrival of spring 2019

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Moonbow captured over CumbriaImage source, Kimspics
Image caption,
BBC Weather Watcher Kimspics captured the rare coloured moonbow in Alston, Cumbria

A moonbow - a rare lunar rainbow - has been photographed over Cumbria during the super worm moon.

It was captured late on Wednesday above Alston by BBC Weather Watcher Andrew Hewison, who posts as Kimspics.

BBC weather presenter Simon King described it as a "rare and amazing colourful moonbow".

He said normally moonbows are much fainter and seen as white but the extra brightness of Wednesday's moon meant colours could be seen.

The super worm moon coincided with the spring equinox, the midway point between mid-winter and mid-summer.

During a full moon, Mr King said, there can be enough light to produce a moonbow.

"Normally these are much fainter and you may only see them as white as all the colours are weaker and scattered away before they reach your eye," he said.

"With last night's full moon also being a supermoon it was much brighter than a normal full moon.

"This extra brightness generated enough light shining into the water droplets that the colours of the rainbow were reflected right back to the weather watcher."


Mr Hewison said he spotted the phenomenon just after 22:00 GMT as he took his dog for a walk.

He said: "At first I tried to take a picture with my phone, but I couldn't make it out so I got my digital camera and put it on the night setting.

"I was a bit rushed for time as it was only there for four or five minutes."

Mr Hewison said he had always wanted to take a photo of the Northern Lights but was pleased he had seen something so rare.

"It's putting Alston on the map for something different," he said.

Another moonbow was photographed by Ben Gwynne above Skipton, North Yorkshire, in October 2016 at the same time as a Hunter's Moon or blood moon.

Image source, Ben Gwynne
Image caption,
This moonbow was captured above Skipton in 2016.

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