The Weather Page

November 08, 2006|By FRANK ROYLANCE | FRANK ROYLANCE,Sun Reporter -- Weather Blogger

Mary Laurenzano of Towson looked up Saturday evening and spied "a ring of color" around the moon as it glided behind "very thin, high clouds." She asks: "What caused this color to appear?" It was the cirrus clouds - actually, ice crystals about 20,000 feet up. Like tiny, six-sided lenses, the crystals refract, or bend, moonlight and bounce it to you at a specific angle -- usually 22 degrees. Hence the ring. Sometimes the moonlight is also split, acquiring color like a rainbow. Lunar halos often signal approaching rain.

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