Rainbows and Rays over Bryce Canyon : What’s happening over Bryce Canyon? Two different optical effects that were captured in one image taken earlier this month. Both effects needed to have the Sun situated directly behind the photographer. The nearest apparition was the common rainbow, created by sunlight streaming from the setting sun over the head of the photographer, and scattering from raindrops in front of the canyon. If you look closely, even a second rainbow appears above the first. More rare, and perhaps more striking, are the rays of light that emanate out from the horizon above the canyon. These are known as anticrepuscular rays and result from sunlight streaming though breaks in the clouds, around the sky, and converging at the point 180 degrees around from the Sun. Geometrically, this antisolar point must coincide with the exact center of the rainbows. Located in Utah, USA, Bryce Canyon itself contains a picturesque array of ancient sedimentary rock spires known as hoodoos. via NASA


Full Moon in Mountain Shadow

(via APOD; Image Credit & Copyright:Greg Chavdarian)

On October 15, standing near the summit of Hawaii’s Mauna Kea and looking away from a gorgeous sunset produced this magnificent snapshot of a Full Moon rising within the volcanic mountain’s shadow. An alignment across the Solar System is captured in the stunning scene and seeming contradiction of bright Moon in dark shadow. The triangular appearance of a shadow cast by a mountain’s irregular profile is normal. It’s created by the perspective of the distant mountaintop view through the dense atmosphere. Rising as the Sun sets, the antisolar point or the point opposite the Sun is close to the perspective’s vanishing point near the mountain shadow’s peak. But extending in the antisolar direction, Earth’s conical shadow is only a few lunar diameters wide at the distance of the Moon. So October’s Full Hunters Moon is still reflecting sunlight, seen through the mountain’s atmospheric shadow but found too far from the antisolar point and the Earth’s extended shadow to be eclipsed.