We’ve all heard there’s a pot of gold at the end of a rainbow. This idea stems from an Irish legend. Many versions of the story exist, but the most commonly told involves a poor farmer family that find a leprechaun hanging on a root vegetable (carrot, potato, etc. depending on version told). The leprechaun says he will grant the farmers a wish, but they began asking for everything, including jewelry and other frivolous desires.
In dismay of their greed, the leprechaun says he has hidden all the things requested and more at the end of the rainbow, and then he left the farmers to chase rainbows for the rest of their days, never to find the end. I think the moral of the story is to enjoy the rainbow, and not be driven by the greed to need the leprechaun’s treasure at the end, but I prefer to think that the leprechaun knew that real joy in life could be found by chasing rainbows, rather than the treasures the farmers desired.
As I thought about this story last night waiting for the moon to rise and this legendary moonbow to appear, I chatted with the many other spectators that had gathered to watch the phenomenon. They had come from all around the country with their families and friends. The mood was jovial, and anticipation filled the air. As the nearly full moon slowly came into view, the mists began to reflect and diffract its bright white light, creating a moonbow stemming from the base of the falls.
So, what lies at the end of a moonbow? Well, you’ll have to head out to Cumberland Falls State Resort Park in southern Kentucky to find out. It’s one of only two places where a predictable moonbow exists.
This was a cool photo opportunity, and I did plan to be there near the full moon. To the naked eye, the moonbow appeared mostly white. As I’ve noted before however, my camera sensor is a bit more powerful than our eyes, and as a result was able to capture the dim spectrum that appeared.
– Shared with permission from Montana Darkstar Photography