The lunar rainbow

The lunar rainbow

RIGHT IN THE MIDDLE

There are times that the moon looks like a large lustrous pearl. It seems larger sometimes and smaller sometimes, and it is said the moon “is closest to” or “farthest from” the earth at this time. Representative image/Pixabay

Sitting on my balcony I looked up at the sky and see a “lunar rainbow.” It is beautiful and I am inspired to write about it. The moon looks like a large opal and the clouds around it are the colour of opals— iridescent and luminous. The halo has a rainbow-coloured ring around it. Mauve, blue, gold and orange coloured rings were easily visible that night around the moon. It is an enchanting sight.

Although I say ‘lunar rainbow’ I mean a rainbow-coloured halo. On cloudy nights, around a full moon, I always look out for this phenomenon. The moon fascinates me in all its different phases. Especially when it is a crescent or a full moon. I chuckle to myself as I think if ‘being fascinated by all things lunar made me a lunatic? Through the ages and among many cultures the moon has been an important and auspicious feature. Celebrations and rituals are planned and observed according to the moon.

A lunar month does not have a fixed number of days like the months of the solar calendar. There are 29 or 30 days in a lunar month, and a lunar year is 11 days shorter than a solar year. When a person is 33 years old by the solar calendar, he is in fact, a year older by the lunar calculation!

There are times that the moon looks like a large lustrous pearl. It seems larger sometimes and smaller sometimes, and it is said the moon “is closest to” or “farthest from” the earth at this time. There is a ‘red moon’ and a ‘blue moon’. A blue moon occurs when there are two full moons in one solar month.

Such an event is possible if there may be a full moon at the beginning of the month and a full moon at the end of the month. It is rare, which is why the expression, “once in a blue moon” has come to denote a rare happening.

The moon is celebrated in verse and in prose in many languages in India. Many film songs extol the beauty of the moon.

Feminine beauty is also compared to that of the moon and if a young woman’s comeliness is described with sublimity, she is described as and compared to the full moon.

Sighting the crescent moon, especially on the first day, is not always possible. It is visible for a very short time and if there is a haze or if there are clouds on the horizon, the new moon could appear and disappear before it is seen. The full moon, though, is easily seen except when the sky is overcast. During monsoon, with its cloudy skies on most nights, when it’s around ‘full moon time’, do look out for a lunar rainbow!

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