ROANOKE, Va. – UPDATE: This was seen again early Monday morning in parts of the Roanoke Valley.
Another day, another 22° moon halo! Caught this outside my apartment before work. 🌝 pic.twitter.com/lZp8KrhWt5— Chris Michaels (@WSLS_Michaels) February 7, 2023
It was Saturday night when the nearly full moon put on a show in the night sky.
A halo formed around it, which caused some of us to take out our phones and send pictures.
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These halos form when the moon (or sun during the day) light refracts or bends when passing through ice crystals. This refraction is similar to when you see a “rainbow” on your house’s floor on a sunny day.
Clouds (cirrus clouds) at the 30,000-foot level were cold enough to be composed of ice Saturday night, which led to this refraction of moonlight.
The angle at which that refraction happens is 22°, which is why you’ll often hear atmospheric scientists/meteorologists refer to this as a 22° halo.