A rare double ‘moonbow’ formed during Sunday’s supermoon — and a photographer captured the incredible moment

The delight and surprise we feel after spotting a double rainbow arcing across the sky almost never wears off.

So imagine photographer Ben Gwynne’s shock while he photographed Sunday’s supermoon — and turned around to see a double moonbow.

Below is Gwynne’s photo of the relatively rare phenomenon, which he first posted about on Facebook (and we first saw at the BBC).

The UK-based professional photographer snapped the image over a field in northern England at 7:38 p.m. as fog rolled through the area:

moonbow full moon rainbow copyright ben gwynne 159photography.Ben Gwynne

Sunlight did not directly cause the rainbow, since it was well after dark. Moonlight — which was beaming from low on the horizon, opposite of the moonbow — refracted off droplets of water in the fog, splitting into a rainbow of colors.

"I’d never seen one before and getting to photograph it was amazing," Gwynne told the BBC.

"There may have been a couple of [curses]," too, Gwynne told Business Insider via Facebook Messenger.

Gwynne set his camera to capture a long exposure, which helped saturate the subtle lighting and colors. It also brought out the double moonbow hovering above the main arc, plus some orange-colored light pollution.

Sunday night’s full moon was a supermoon, or when the moon swings closest to Earth in its monthly and slightly elliptical orbit. Technically called "perigee-syzygy of the Earth-Moon-Sun system," supermoons are not only a bit brighter than typical full moons, but they can also cause stronger ocean tides and weather events.

The next supermoon is November 14, 2016 (the closest supermoon since 1948), and after that there’s one December 13, 2016. (We wish you luck in seeing a moonbow.)

Sunday’s full moon also earned the name of a Hunter’s moon and a blood moon, which are just two more of the dozens of names we ascribe to lunar phases.

Rebecca Harrington contributed to this post.

NOW WATCH: We just experienced the first of 3 supermoons in a row — the next one will be an ‘extra supermoon’

See Also:

SEE ALSO: 28 weird names we have for full moons, from Buck Moons to Strawberry Moons

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