This place in Kentucky is one of a few places in the world where you can see a rainbow formed by moonlight

Anita Durairaj

A moonbow or a lunar rainbow is a rainbow that is formed by moonlight. It is an optical phenomenon that is formed when the light from the moon is refracted through water droplets in the air.

Moonbows are even rarer than rainbows and their occurrence is less than 10% of regular rainbows.

For a moonbow to form and be seen, several factors need to be considered. First, perfectly spherical raindrops are required. The light source or the moon must also be at the right altitude because the moonbow is centered directly opposite the moon.

Moonbows are rarer than rainbows because they are difficult to see and can only be viewed against a dark sky near the end of the evening.

There are only certain parts of the world where conditions are prone to the formation of moonbows and Kentucky is home to one such location.

Kentucky's Cumberland Falls is one of the rare places on Earth where you might see a moonbow. Cumberland Falls is a waterfall on the Cumberland River in southeastern Kentucky. It is also called "Little Niagara".

Cumberland Falls is reported to be the only site in the Western Hemisphere where a moonbow can be seen on a regular basis. It is only one of two places in the U.S. where you can spot a moonbow.

The moonbow is formed by the mist of the waterfalls and aided by the gorge walls which allow moonlight. Moonbows can be seen on nights with clear skies on the days of a full moon.

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Trained with a Ph.D. in Chemistry from the University of Cincinnati, I write unique and interesting articles focused on science, history, and current events.


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