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Ring Around the Moon

Creepy Halloween Images.com" class="fancy" rel="story_group" href="http://media.graytvinc.com/images/moon_with_bats_DSC3886b.jpg"> Many reports of a circle around the moon came in to WTAP Weather last night. Does it mean anything special?

Image obtained from Creepy Halloween Images.com

It always seems to happen around this time of year... Calls come flooding in when someone notices a ring around the moon.

This is most typically described as a cloud ring, though some describe it as a glowing ring, perfectly round encircling the moon.

Some even go so far as to say it's a sign from God.

But what it means is open to interpretation. Is it the "end of the world"... or does it mean rain is coming? Is it due to ice crystals or some mysterious force?

The answer is in the position of the moon.

A full moon that rises high in the sky makes us notice the shadows we cast, and the illumination of the ground. So, naturally, we look up at the moon.

The reflected light of the moon is refracted passing through ice crystals, causing a hazy circle to ring the moon.

If the circle is close to the moon, the layer of moisture is close to the ground. If the circle is far from the moon, the layer of moisture is much higher.

This is the same type of phenomenon that produces a rainbow during the day.

Just as a sunbeam makes a ring (of which we usually only see half, or a rainbow) the moon also does the same thing, shining through the ice crystals.

So, if someone tries to tell you that a ring around the moon has a special meaning, they're right: There's moisture between you and the moon!


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