Sunday, November 1, 2009

Moon Halo

Last night at about 9.00 pm, I took a steaming mug of black coffee to my favourite spot under the warm tropical sky to partake in my favourite pastime - sky gazing on full moon night. It was 14th Zulkaedah 1430H.

As I came out the door, the night was bright. I took my own sweet time before looking up the sky because I knew the moon was full.

When I did .. I saw something like this.

No! I didn't take this picture. I only had a 3mp phonecam. The whole phenomenon only appeared as a white dot on the screen. I googled moon halo and got this image here [moon halo]. It is the nearest image to what I actually saw. After sometime, I received an SMS from a friend in town telling me to get outside and watch the moon. Only then it occured to me to share the awesome phenomenon with my loved ones. I frantically sent SMS to every one on my phone list. It was hard SMS'ing while looking up at the moon! But I was glad I did. They enjoyed the rare occurance. A dear friend who lives on the 8th floor, climbed to the roof of a 10-storey building to catch the halo but the haze was too thick on his sky.

This was not so much about the beauty but to stand right smack in the middle of such a breathtakingly awesome display of nature was such a humbling experience.

By 10.30 the clouds move in and it was over.

So, this is the best I have. Alhamdulillah.

Ask yahoo yields this explanation:- 

That breathtaking vision in the night sky is the result of ice crystalsrefracting the light of the moon. The halo rings the moon when high, thin cirrus clouds made up of millions of these crystals cover the sky. The moon's light enters into the hexagonal-shaped ice structures and is bent before passing out another side of the crystals, causing a ring of light to appear around the moon. But this phenomenon is not limited to the moon -- given the right conditions, you can spot a sun halo as well.
Halos typically appear as a ring of white light around the moon or the sun, but they can also appear in color patterns. The most common type of halo is the 22-degree halo, so-called because the ice crystals refract the light of the moon or sun at an angle of 22 degrees. A less-common type of halo is the 46-degree variety, which has a larger diameter than the 22-degree but is also fainter.
According to folklore, a moon halo indicates that bad weather is on the way. There may be some truth to this since the halo is usually caused by high-altitude cirrus clouds that precede a warm front and an associated storm.
One dark, cloudy night, you might also be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of another spectacular moon show -- the lunar corona, when the moonlight is diffracted into hazy colored rings.

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