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Moonbow Hunting Over The Sperrins - Oct 15th

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Author Topic: Moonbow Hunting Over The Sperrins - Oct 15th  (Read 755 times)
martinastro
Martin Mc Kenna
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« on: October 16, 2008, 12:59:45 am »

I had this photo session planned three nights ago. From studying the forecast Wed night could bring good potential for catching my favourite lunar transient atmospheric phenomena - the elusive Moonbow. Forecast was for showers moving in from the Atlantic on cold NW breeze. The Moon would be one day after full phase which presented the first of two windows for hunting. The obvious choice was the first window, an evening session, before the Moon rose higher than 42 degrees in altitude.

As the Sun set, and the Moon rose, I headed out to the location where I image thunderstorms from. The Moon was at my back to the E, and the showers in the W, so it was the perfect set-up. After much frustration I was rewarded only one hour into the session. I watched a line of weak convection arrive over the Sperrin mountains heading my way. A faint segment of a moon bow formed to the NW, then as the showers moved closer and became larger in the sky, so did the bow, until it was a complete arc with colours easy to see with the naked eye. It was a magnificent sight against a back drop of stars, showers below, and moonlit cloud tops. Here's a selection of images in order. First Maghera from this location, then arriving clouds, showers and the bow.

http://i34.tinypic.com/28jcn0m.jpg

http://i34.tinypic.com/9amlmv.jpg

http://i37.tinypic.com/n4ukc4.jpg

http://i37.tinypic.com/kb5ev.jpg

http://i33.tinypic.com/1z4blzm.jpg

http://i36.tinypic.com/30139mp.jpg

http://i37.tinypic.com/eziiis.jpg

http://i35.tinypic.com/21o1zzb.jpg











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Tyler
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« Reply #1 on: October 16, 2008, 04:38:01 am »

great analysis of weather data to be on the look out for this amazing phenomena! really cool shots. I never knew it could be a full bow.
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jgs001
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« Reply #2 on: October 16, 2008, 09:09:59 am »

Excellent work Martin. The images are great. First time I've heard of a moonbow, but it makes sense.
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« Reply #3 on: October 16, 2008, 09:51:25 am »

Quote
First time I've heard of a moonbow, but it makes sense.
Just a rainbow illuminated by the moon instead of the sun. The images are just like a rainbow - except for the stars in the sky and the light pollution! When seen by eye, the colours aren't really visible because of the low intensity so it just looks like a grey arch. The crock at the end is therefore filled with silver rather than gold.  Wink But you can never reach it.  Angry

Showery weather is continuing so there may be more opportunities tonight. Hint, the North Coast always gets more showers when the airstream is unstable north westerly - if they're dying out elsewhere us lot will probably still be getting intermittent soakings, with just occasional clear slots (for the moon to shine through), when the showers have dispersed inland.
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martinastro
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« Reply #4 on: October 16, 2008, 10:14:31 pm »

Many thanks for the comments guys. I went out again tonight to the same location for another two hour session and caught even brighter bows. The showers were more intense and even though the Moon was less bright, it was clear from cloud and illuminated the precip areas with it's full intensity. The bows were higher tonight, and more difficult to fit in the lens compared to the previous night due to the Moon's lower elevation on the ecliptic. The sky was also a fraction darker so I pushed the ISO up to 400 for a brighter image. I couldn't do that on Wed night.









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Paul
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« Reply #5 on: October 16, 2008, 10:20:42 pm »

Martin, that's splendid work on both sessions - the best moonbow photos I've ever seen!

P.
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Big Dipper
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« Reply #6 on: October 16, 2008, 10:34:39 pm »

Excellent shooting Martin. Probably the best Moonbows that I've ever seen.
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martinastro
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« Reply #7 on: October 17, 2008, 02:46:01 pm »

Thanks very much Andy and Paul for the compliments!!  Smiley.

Bows caused by weak moonlight tend to look white or grey but when seen with a bright moon phase the colours are obvious. The colours observed over the last two nights were striking. The second night was exceptional with bright red, yellow-white, and blue bands all visible with the naked eye. There was a faint secondary moonbow to.
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« Reply #8 on: October 17, 2008, 02:55:45 pm »

Martin, thanks for sharing both photo session, the images are fantastic...  Grin
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Thanks,
         Steven..

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Roman White
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« Reply #9 on: October 17, 2008, 08:16:03 pm »

Wow! Both of your sessions are excellent!!  Smiley - the nighttime bows look a bit more magnificent than the daytime ones imho.

BTW, Martin, you have a perfect location there.

In the latest time you have so much of them, that I can call you a real Moonbow Hunter!  Wink Cheesy
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martinastro
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« Reply #10 on: October 18, 2008, 03:42:04 am »

Thanks Steven and Roman. I prefer the moonbows to the daybows myself because the combination of bow and stars is so alien looking. The Irish / UK weather is perfect for their formation. I have a feeling they are much more common that originally thought. I will see how many I can catch during the remainder of the year to test this theory.
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« Reply #11 on: October 18, 2008, 05:09:09 am »

Great work Martin! your images are on the front page of spaceweather! Congrats
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« Reply #12 on: October 18, 2008, 08:56:04 am »

Great to see your photo on Spaceweather's homepage! Congratulations  Smiley
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martinastro
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« Reply #13 on: October 18, 2008, 03:53:06 pm »

Thanks very much Tyler and Roman!.  Smiley
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martinastro
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« Reply #14 on: October 18, 2008, 08:16:48 pm »

Here's a youtube slide show covering both nights. I uploaded high res images which hold up a little better against the compression. You can just see the bows and no more.

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