Lonely Planet Writer

Photographer captures rare moonbow with the northern lights above Iceland

A photographer has captured a stunning image that shows a seldom sighted moonbow as well as the Aurora Borealis over mountains in Iceland.

A moonbow and the aurora borealis captured above Fáskrúðsfjörður in Iceland.
A moonbow and the aurora borealis captured above Fáskrúðsfjörður in Iceland. Image by Jónína Óskarsdóttir

The image was captured by Jónína Óskarsdóttir just after midnight on 20 September near an abandoned farm in Fáskrúðsfjörður, Iceland.

The picturesque area of Fáskrúðsfjörður in Iceland.
The picturesque area of Fáskrúðsfjörður in Iceland. CC BY 2.0

“I had been aurora hunting with a friend for a short time. It was cloudy, windy and drizzling and we drove from our village Fáskrúðsfjörður to the countryside. There we could see clear skies and the northern lights in between the clouds. Suddenly we could see the formation of a moonbow in the darkness. We really couldn’t believe this sight that we had never seen before! It was great to capture this rare phenomenon with auroras on the same photo,” Jónína told Lonely Planet News.

Moonbows are similar to the more commonly seen rainbows, but the phenomenon is created by the moonbeams bouncing around raindrops as opposed to sunbeams. The movement causes the beams to be split into their primary colours and arc across the sky.