Sunday, September 30, 2012

What Creates a Ring Around the Moon?

Looking up at the Full Moon tonight, I saw a wonderful ring around the Moon, so I grabbed my camera with a wide angle lens, put it on a tripod and took several images.

These rings, or halos around the Moon are caused by sunlight reflecting off the Moon then striking ice crystals high in the Earth's atmosphere, where it is refracted into a 22 degree halo. These ice crystals are usually in very high cirrus clouds, around 20,000 feet above our heads.

Technical Data:

  • Camera: Canon 4Ti
  • Lens: Canon 10-22mm f/3.5 (set at 10mm f/3.5)
  • Exposure: 8 seconds
  • ISO: 200


  1. I saw this too last night. I stepped outside to try my new bioculars and should have pulled out my camera instead.

    Gorgeous photo!


  2. I saw this last night also! I am in Missouri, does it matter where you are to see it?

  3. The only thing that matters is that the ice crystals are between you and the moon. Each person sees their own individual halo. If you are near the edge of the cloud of crystals, you may see the halo but someone a short distance away may not see it.

  4. Amazing. Just looked at one tonight. Do you mind if I link to your site?