Lunar Halo (ring around the moon)

January 7th, 2012 at 10:20 pm by under Weather

Tonight we had a good number of people calling in and emailing asking about the ring that was showing up around the moon.  Simply put this is a Lunar Halo and is caused by high cirrus clouds that are moving in from the west tonight.  As the light from the nearly full moon passes through the cirrus clouds, it gets scattered.  The reason for the scattering is the clouds are actually made up of millions of tiny ice crystals, so when light passes through these, they act as little prisms.    Since the light that is reflected off the moon is somewhat dim (compared to sunlight), the halo’s usually appear colorless.    It should be noted that folklore states that rain usually is not far behind when a lunar halo is observed… and wouldn’t you know, we have rain in the forecast starting late tomorrow night.  Thank you to Jessica Moore and Tami Conner for the pics.

 

One Response to “Lunar Halo (ring around the moon)”

  1. Amber Bechtol says:

    Hey there Jim S. Speaking of halo clouds, I wanted to send you a photo I took at the end of December of an odd circle cloud formation near my home in Leander. I later saw similar photos on youtube that had gotten hundreds of thousands of views and folks called the work of aliens. Although I’m sure there is life out there, I believe that this formation is a natural meteorological formation. I can’t find any info on it however. You are hands down the best weather man in Austin, and I thought that if anyone could explain it, you could! So can you please tell me what makes this kind of cloud ring with the sinking center? Thanks! Unfortunately, the photo is not attaching correctly to this blog and your weather photo gallery does not offer me a link to email you a photo. So please email me and I will resend it directly to your email address. Thanks again!
    Amber