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Saturday, December 2, 2017

Ring Around the Moon

Last night, I saw my first complete moon halo. I'm quite sure all I'd ever seen before was that bright fuzzy circle that surrounds the moon but is in close.

This was the best picture I could manage since I am not adept at the manual settings on the camera. But, if you look out away from the moon you can see a much larger pale circle and the sky appears darker between it and the moon. The circle is more than half the width of the picture- got it?

moon halo

These halos are always 22 degrees from the moon (or the sun). Bright spots 90 degrees apart on the circle are called moon dogs. Because moonlight is not as bright as sunlight the rings appear colorless, but they are essentially rainbows. Sometimes you can detect faint red color on the inside and blue on the outside. I couldn't see that last night.

They also occur in the daytime, and the bright spots will have rainbow colors. Then it's called a sun dog. But you can see the full circles around the sun as well. I've never seen that, but a quick internet search will bring up some fantastic pictures.

They form when there are high cirrus clouds full of ice crystals. The light is refracted forming the ring. The sky always appears a deeper color inside the ring. It's often a signal of storms. That wasn't true of this one- we are continuing the nice weather for the present time.

I read that the week of Hurricane Sandy there were moon halos seen all over the country.

In this version of the picture, I messed with the contrast so you can really see the dark circle. You can also tell that the inner edge of the ring is sharp while the outer edge is fuzzy.

moon halo

Very cool stuff. I love seeing new things. Now I need a sun halo and moon dogs to complete the set!

In other news: Work yesterday/last night was long and difficult. Today I'm doing a little editing, but not much.

See Sun Dog
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The Furry Gnome said...

That second photo shows it well!

Ann said...

I could see it in the first picture but it really shows up in the second. That is very cool

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