Yosemite Moonbow: A rare phenomenon

Wednesday, 24 May, 2023 0

A Yosemite moonbow is a rare natural phenomenon that occurs in Yosemite National Park only a few times a year.

Early June is set to be a great time to see it.

Created by the rays of the moon instead of the sun, a moonbow occurs when light refracts in water droplets such as from the mist of Yosemite National Park’s waterfalls.

John Muir compared the moonbow to a religious experience, describing it as a ‘grand arc of color, glowing in mild, shapely beauty.’

While the phenomenon is thrilling to behold, it also elusive.

The conditions must be perfect, and researchers have studied the factors that go into creating a moonbow.

These factors include clear skies, sufficient mist in the air, a dark night and bright moonlight not blocked by mountains or clouds.

Yosemite Falls creates a uniquely ideal setting for moonbows to occur thanks to the mist created.

There are various conditions necessary for moonbows to be observed at Yosemite Falls:

Moon must be within a few days of being full.

Clear skies between the moon and the waterfall

Plenty of water in the falls (typically April-June)

Sufficient darkness (at least one hour after sunset or one hour before sunrise)

The moon must have risen high enough to shine on the waterfall spray.

Wind can greatly enhance the moonbow by carrying the water spray.

The moon must be at the proper angle relative to the observer and the mist

For those planning a visit, the moonbow at Yosemite Falls has precisely been predicted to be seen from 1 June through 5 June 2023.

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Editor for TravelMole North America and Asia pacific regions. Ray is a highly experienced (15+ years) skilled journalist and editor predominantly in travel, hospitality and lifestyle working with a huge number of major market-leading brands. He has also cover in-depth news, interviews and features in general business, finance, tech and geopolitical issues for a select few major news outlets and publishers.

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