Tonight we went outside to look at the moon ring or moon dog. It is a GIANT Halo of light around the moon. And it was GIANT! Too big to even get a quarter of it into a camera lens from the ground. It was SOOOO Cool! I called Mom and my sister Liz, Anya, Lisa, and Carrie. Evan called John. Pete called his sister in Atlanta. My mom called my grandparents and left a message for my dad. It was awesome.
We found the following information on the internet:
The moon can produce interesting optical effects when conditions are right. The most common of which are moon rings, moon bows, which are similar to rainbows, moon dogs and moon pillars. A rainbow is produced when sunlight is refracted through water droplets - A similar effect is produced when moon light refracts through ice crystals. Below are a few photographs and examples about this interesting phenomena. Thanks to everyone that helped me put together this simple explanation of moon light effects.
A Ring Around The Moon
The ring around the Moon is caused by the refraction of Moonlight (which of course is reflected sunlight) from ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The shape of the ice crystals results in a focusing of the light into a ring. Since the ice crystals typically have the same shape, namely a hexagonal shape, the Moon ring is almost always the same size.
Less typical are the halos that may be produced by different angles in the crystals. They can create halos with an angle of 46 degrees.
Moon Ring Weather Folklore Folklore has it that a ring around the moon signifies bad weather is coming, and in many cases this may be true. So how can rings around the moon be a predictor of weather to come? The ice crystals that cover the halo signify high altitude, thin cirrus clouds that normally precede a warm front by one or two days. Typically, a warm front will be associated with a low pressure system which is commonly referred to as a storm.
It is believed that the number of stars within a moon halo indicate the number days before bad weather will arrive. Give it a try the next time you observe a moon halo.