Here’s what’s causing that bright ring around the moon

Weather phenomenon caused by ice crystals in the sky

Moon halo in Sorrento. Submitted by PinIt user Cdenaro

ORLANDO, Fla. – The Hunter’s Moon has been shining bright in the Central Florida sky over the past several nights. In addition to the full moon and Orionid meteor shower, some sky-watchers have been treated to another sight: a bright halo around the moon.

A halo around the moon or sun forms when light is refracted by ice crystals associated with thin, high clouds. Cirrus or cirrostratus clouds, like the clouds around Central Florida this week, are made up of ice crystals.

[TRENDING: Become a News 6 Insider (it’s free!)]

A 22-degree ring or halo is the most common type of halo observed when light is refracted by the hexagonal ice crystals in the clouds.

Patches of light sometimes appear next to the sun or moon and are known as moondogs or sundogs. Scientifically, these are called parhelion.

Halo and moondogs in Flager Beach. Photo by Trish Hale

You may have also noticed two bright dots near the moon late in the evening.

Jupiter and Saturn are currently prominent in the southern sky late in the evening.

The two gas giants set in the western sky just after midnight.

Evenings after sunset

About the Author:

Jonathan Kegges joined the News 6 team in June 2019 as the Weekend Morning Meteorologist. Jonathan comes from Roanoke, Virginia where he covered three EF-3 tornadoes and deadly flooding brought on by Hurricanes Florence and Michael.