Our first rainbow moon for 2015

My son, Christo, phoned this evening at 9:37 pm to tell me about the rainbow moon in our skies.
 
"It's insane, Mom," he said. I grabbed my camera and went outside. The moon was indeed spectacular. There was the moon halo with its moon pillars.

The moon halo
 
The moon halo is formed when the ice crystals in the surrounding cirrus clouds bend the moonlight. You can't see the cirrus clouds because they are very high - on average at an altitude of 6,000 meters. These wispy clouds, often the forerunner of rainy weather, contain hexagonal ice crystals. The radius of a moon halo is about 22 degrees. The various colours are formed because of the angle at which the light is refracted.
 
The moon pillars
 
 
The moon had thin horizontal and vertical pillars extending from the centre. These pillars are formed because the light is reflected rather than being bent. What you see depends on the angle that the light reaches your eyes. Therefore, each one of us may have seen different perspectives of the halos and pillars tonight.
 
 
 
For a brief moment, the drifting cumulus clouds cupped the moon and continued their journey across the sky.
 
 

 

 

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