Have you ever gazed up at the night sky and been captivated by the beauty of a lunar halo? These celestial phenomena, often seen when the moon is veiled by thin cirrus clouds, create a stunning display of light and color. While halos are commonly associated with daytime occurrences, they can also be observed during the nighttime hours. In this article, we will delve into the enchanting world of lunar halos and explore the mesmerizing 22° lunar halo in Quebec.
Lunar halos occur when moonlight interacts with ice crystals in the atmosphere, creating a ring of light around the moon. These halos are formed through a process called refraction, where light rays bend as they pass through the ice crystals. The most common type of lunar halo is the 22° halo, which encircles the moon with a radius of approximately 22 degrees. This particular halo is often visible when the moon is full or nearly full.
Quebec, known for its breathtaking landscapes and vibrant culture, also offers the opportunity to witness the ethereal beauty of the 22° lunar halo. When a bright moon is veiled by thin cirrus clouds in this region, the stage is set for an enchanting display of celestial wonder. As the moon's light interacts with the ice crystals in the atmosphere, a luminous ring forms around the moon, captivating all who witness it.
While daytime halos often exhibit vibrant colors, lunar halos tend to be more subdued. The light emitted by the moon is relatively dim compared to sunlight, resulting in faint or non-existent colors within the halo. The human eye's color sensors are barely stimulated by the moon's light, making it challenging to perceive distinct hues. However, smaller colored rings, known as coronas, can sometimes be observed surrounding the moon. These coronas are created by the diffraction of light through water droplets in the clouds.
In addition to the 22° lunar halo, other atmospheric phenomena can be observed when the moon is veiled by thin cirrus clouds. One such phenomenon is moondogs, also known as mock moons or paraselenae. Moondogs are bright spots that appear on either side of the moon and are caused by the reflection and refraction of moonlight through ice crystals. These captivating companions to the moon add an extra touch of magic to the nighttime sky.
Moonlight can also create a rainbow-like phenomenon known as a moonbow. Similar to a traditional rainbow, a moonbow is formed when moonlight is refracted through water droplets in the air. However, unlike its daytime counterpart, moonbows are often pale and lack vibrant colors when observed with the naked eye. Nevertheless, these ethereal arcs of light can occasionally be seen in certain atmospheric conditions, adding a touch of enchantment to the nocturnal sky.
To fully appreciate the splendor of a 22° lunar halo in Quebec, it is recommended to find a location with minimal light pollution. Away from the city lights, the halo will appear more vivid and pronounced against the dark night sky. Consider bringing a camera equipped with a wide-angle lens to capture this celestial phenomenon in all its glory. Long exposure photography can enhance the visibility of the halo and reveal intricate details that may go unnoticed by the naked eye.
In conclusion, the 22° lunar halo in Quebec offers a captivating display of natural beauty that is sure to leave observers in awe. Whether you're fortunate enough to witness this celestial spectacle firsthand or experience it through photographs, the allure of the lunar halo is undeniable. So, the next time you find yourself gazing up at the night sky on a moonlit evening, keep an eye out for the enchanting 22° lunar halo and allow yourself to be transported into the realm of atmospheric wonder.
Lunar 22º haloImaged December '03 in Ontario, Canada by Lauri Kangas (site).The subdued colours of the image convey well the visual appearance of lunar halos.Large version.Image ©Lauri Kangas, shown with permission.
Halos are not purely daytime happenings. Look for them whenever a bright moon is veiled by thin cirrus cloud. A full or nearly full moon is best.22º halos often encircle the moon. More rarely, because the moon is relatively dim, it is possible to see moondogs and other halos. Colours are faint or non existent because their light is barely strong enough to excite the colour sensors of our eyes.Much smaller coloured rings sometimes surround the moon. These are not a halo but a corona produced by the diffraction of light by the water droplets of clouds. And of course moonlight creates a rainbow although to the unaided eye it is usually a wan creature devoid of colour.
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"22° Lunar Halo Quebec". Atmospheric Optics. Accessed on November 30, 2023. https://atoptics.co.uk/blog/22-lunar-halo-quebec/.
"22° Lunar Halo Quebec". Atmospheric Optics, https://atoptics.co.uk/blog/22-lunar-halo-quebec/. Accessed 30 November, 2023
22° Lunar Halo Quebec. Atmospheric Optics. Retrieved from https://atoptics.co.uk/blog/22-lunar-halo-quebec/.