Spectacular images as moonbow meets aurora

The moonbow next to the aurora off the north Northumberland coast. Picture by Andrew Douglas
The moonbow next to the aurora off the north Northumberland coast. Picture by Andrew Douglas

A photographer captured spectacular photos of a moonbow next to the Northern Lights off the north Northumberland coast last weekend.

Andrew Douglas captured photos of both the aurora and a moonbow during the early hours of Sunday morning. Visit his blog at www.thefarneislands.blogspot.co.uk

The aurora borealis, or northern lights, are caused by charged particles colliding in the Earth’s atmosphere and are seen above the northern and southern magnetic poles. A geomagnetic storm causes the aurora to expand to lower latitudes, allowing us in Northumberland to see the shimmering lights.

A moonbow (or lunar rainbow) is a rainbow produced by light reflected off the surface of the moon (as opposed to direct sunlight) refracting off moisture-laden clouds in the atmosphere. Moonbows are relatively faint, due to the smaller amount of light reflected from the surface of the moon.

The moonbow next to the aurora off the north Northumberland coast. Picture by Andrew Douglas

The moonbow next to the aurora off the north Northumberland coast. Picture by Andrew Douglas