A Conversation for Moonbows

Okay. This is it. I AM going mad.

Post 1


If what I saw in Ireland wasn't a moonbow, then what on earth was it ?!

Let's explain :

In the autumn of 2002, near Cork, Ireland, I saw a strange circle of light around the Moon. And I mean a circle, NOT a disc or a bow. The Moon was very high in the sky, and there was this eerie ring around it.

Picture it like this : lay a coin on a table (2 euros, or a quarter, whatever), and draw a circle at a radius of about 15 or 20 centimeters (6 to 8 inches or so) around it. Make the circle about a coupla centimeters thick, and voilĂ . Now what WAS that ?

I saw this in the garden, at a party, and asked some of the people about it : they were all pretty much drunk and wouldn't pay much attention to the only sober guy, frantically pointing at the sky.

As I walked home (at about 1pm) I couldn't take my eyes off that thing. It was like being in one of those futuristic paintings where you see a huge Saturn-like planet covering half of the horizon above a sprawling city. Incredible.

When I ask people about it, they always say "yeah, that's just the Moon halo." But I already say a halo and it doesn't look anything like that. A halo would be more like laying a 2 euro coin on a disc of paper about 10cm in diameter. A halo is a DISC, not a CIRCLE.

This is driving me crazy. I had hoped, seeing the title of "moonbows", that my quest for the truth had finally come to an end, but no. And, might I add, AAAAARRGGH ! WHAT WAS THAT HUGE RING THING ?!

(now I wanna see the Aurorea Borealis, whatever that is called in English. If it's even half as beautiful as what I saw in Cork, I'll spend a lifetime or two just looking at it.)

(and no, I'm not the spiritual type, and this wasn't a hallucination. It is, however, driving me mad but I think I already mentioned that.)

Okay. This is it. I AM going mad.

Post 2

Sea Change

You're not mad, you just haven't seen lots of renaissance art. Haloes are not necessarily discs or plates; they can be rings, at least in the western artistic tradition. Some really finely limned Italian works even have a very delicate discontinuous ring. What you have seen is indeed a moon halo.

I was raised Lutheran (I have since gotten better smiley - smiley), and for this particular church it was very unusual for any depictions of anyone biblical to be shown. I had no idea what a halo was for many years! If one saw a children's picture of Jesus (f'instance) in Sunday School he had a ring about his head, and not a disc or sphere. When I saw my first russian Icon I was flummoxed as to what could be wrong with these people, and the first image of Jesus with the Sacred Heart that I saw in my Catholic relations' house had a glow that followed precisely the line that marked the shape of the head of Jesus. His head was not circular, or platelike or disclike at all.

Okay. This is it. I AM going mad.

Post 3


Oh. That was a halo ? Um, okay then.

*feels pretty damn embarassed*

Okay. This is it. I AM going mad.

Post 4



I'm not sure if it's a function of living in a relatively northern climate, but I have seen a few of these "halos", too. Quite lovely. I think that they're caused by the same thing as sun halos (more painful than lovely to stare at) and I believe that both are a sign of rain coming.


Okay. This is it. I AM going mad.

Post 5

Mudhooks: ,,, busier than a one-legged man in an ass-kicking contest...

"A ring around the moon brings rain or snow." or, "When the moon is in her house, rain or snow will come."

This is going to be a rather long URL, but it is for a Google search for halo and moon. I couldn't pick one, so thought "What they Hey! I will include 'em all!" http://images.google.ca/images?q=halo+moon&ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&hl=en&btnG=Google+Search

As the Sherd said, a halo around the moon indicates rain. However, more generally, it indicates precipitation. The light from the moon refracts off water vapor in the atmosphere (in the form of cirrus or cirrostratus clouds, creating a hazy appearance to the moon (and stars, of they are bright enough). Ice crystals in the atmosphere will also create halo effects, and, in most cases, pretty solid-looking ones.


By the way, Welcome to H2G2. Always good to see a new face, and a Canadian one, too.

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