Ring Around The Moon? Here’s What It Means

Have you ever seen a ghostly ring around the Moon? We explain what it's called and what causes it.

While stargazing, have you ever noticed a large circular band of light surrounding the Moon? If so, you have seen a lunar halo.

What Is A Lunar Halo?

A lunar halo is caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within thin, wispy, high altitude cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. As light passes through these hexagon-shaped ice crystals, it is bent at a 22-degree angle, creating a halo 22 degrees in radius (or 44 degrees in diameter). A double halo, sometimes with spokes, may be seen on rare occasions when light reflects off water or ice.

The prism effect of light passing through these six-sided ice crystals separates the light into its various colors, resulting in a halo tinged with very pale rainbow colors with red on the inside and blue on the outside. The phenomenon of a lunar halo is similar to a rainbow produced by sunlight and rain falling between your eye and the sun.

What Does Folklore Say About A Lunar Halo?

Weather lore says a lunar halo is the precursor of impending unsettled weather, especially during the winter months. This is often proved true, as cirrus and cirrostratus clouds generally precede rain and storm systems.

Lunar halos are, in fact, actually fairly common. So watch the night sky — and keep the umbrella handy!

This article was published by the staff at Farmers' Almanac. Interested in becoming a guest author? Contact us to let us know!

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Jamie

Burke vt

Maria G Lopez

I saw this bright circle w yellow inside this morning I wonder what it means maybe water? Harlingen Texas

Jessica

Wayne Oklahoma

JJ Martin

Tonight in the Santa Cruz Mtns outside Los Gatos, CA. Bright and orangey.

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Peggy Edwards

Beautiful, Large clear Ring around the moon here in Northamptonshire, England. 13/3/22. 11:11pm

Angie Gottschalk

It’s like that tonight tik 04/09/2022 at 1016 PM in Wisconsin USA they are technically called Lunar Halos and are actually quite common believe it or not.

Last edited 2 months ago by Angie Gottschalk
Sarolya Elizabeth Kereszy

Here in Galera, Andalucia a large clear ring around the moon🌠

Dee

Perth, Western Australia, Feb 19 2022 just before midnight… ish GMT +8

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Kat Potter

I took this photo from my phone on Feb 15th

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Kat Potter

Sorry, the photo was taken in Vale, Oregon at around 9 pm

Sandi Duncan

What a great shot! Thanks for sharing Kat.

Gary gump

We had the Ring around the moon last night here in stonewood West Virginia 2/16/2022

Christina Hall

Beautiful winter halo in Bristol, Quebec, Canada February 15th 11:10 p.m.

Joseph

Seen on Valentines Day in Kodiak Island Alaska.

Christina Hall

Seen in Quebec, Canada February 15, 2022 @ 11:15 p.m., beautiful!

Desiree

It was in Chicago.. very Beautiful

Brayz

Very visible in Phoenix Arizona today

adebowale

This is my view firm Nigeria it’s so beautiful tonight

Lissa

We had one last night it was so beautiful. And we are getting rain and
Snow tomorrow. In Alabama

Last edited 5 months ago by Lissa
Sonya

My view of the beautiful moon tonight in Bladenboro, NC

Renee H

Tonight’s view from Vandenberg Space Force Base, CA!

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Sonya

This is my view from Bladenboro, NC

Mer

I’m in Denver, NC and I saw it too last night! Just barely there, but I bet it’s more apparent tonight. Looking forward to finally seeing some snow!! 5-8″ forecast for Sunday here!

Yvette

Hanford, ca

Bridge

Tonight in Pacifica, CA!

Rachel

Long time since I’ve seen on in Hazel Green Alabama

Last edited 5 months ago by Rachel
Lauren Brimmer

Over Fallbrook, California (San Diego County) tonight

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Doris

We have one tonight! Beautiful…1/12/2022..

Linda

It is 3:30 am in Phoenix and their is a beautiful lunar halo….it does not show up in my photo.

Daniel Moreira

Seen my first One today

MrLorenD

There is a moon halo tonight here in south central PA

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MrLorenD

no rain in the forecast for the next 24 hours 🤷🏻‍♂️

MrLorenD

.

Last edited 6 months ago by MrLorenD
Sandi Duncan

Great picture.

MrLorenD

Thank you Sandi

Gail Lipford

There’s a large one visible in Mountain City Tennessee tonight

Dee

What a cool shot. Well done!

Ashley

We are expecting lots of rain tomorrow with potential flooding!

Artist414Picasso

Seen my first one earlier tonight
Milwaukee WI

Sandi Duncan

Ooh let us know if you get any precipitation – white or wet!

Mary Gascoigne

Seen one hear in Nottingham England tonight 14/03/2022

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ches cord

There is a clear one here at Moses Lake, Washington.

Sammie Piara

One here in El Paso Texas too

Amy K

We’ve got a nice one here in Albuquerque, NM

Raine

Washington D.C. as well

Danielle Avila

There’s one in Rio Rancho right now

Julie Lindholm

Flagstaff AZ too.
it is beautiful.

Alexis Brooke

There’s one here tonight super bright in Wenatchee, Washington

mary jane laws

May 25,2021. I live in So. Cal. desert. I”ve seen the rainbow around moon 3 nights in a row, but my husband can’t see it. Even without my glasses, it’s quite vivid. Tonight it’s cloudy. Let me know what you folks think

Erica Lynn

I’m in San Antonio Texas and I have seen the same thing. The other night was much closer to the moon but it was a full rainbow halo. Right now I’m looking at a scattered cloudy sky with a giant halo. We did just have a good downpour Friday around 3pm cst

Terri Lynn

We live right here in Converse, Tx and Noticed the ring around the moon while we were in our hot tub around 9:00 p.m. yesterday, Saturday. Very cool to discover what it is.

Sonja

In Qld sunny coast Australia and seen the ring around the moon last night, we have just started on off rain for the last few weeks! But so cool you can see it on the other side of the world!

Steve

Seen this just now

Wanda Baker

Neither one of those rings were what I saw. At first I thought it was some orange color on the clouds and as the clouds were moving the orange glow would disappear. But it didn’t the clouds were moving pretty fast put they never passed over the moon as long as that orange glowing color ring was going around the moon. The ring was fairly close to the moon not like those other rings around the moon. Just a little curious..

Jennifer Harstine

Ring around the moon, bad weather soon .old fisherman tale

Karen

Thanks Jennifer! I was told the same thing. We lived aboard our boat for many years. A majority of the time it has correct.

Last edited 5 months ago by Karen Fernandez
Dorothy Judd

I am 80 and my mother taught me 70 years ago it means a change in the weather.
She also taught when you see the backs of the leaves on a tree it means a storm is coming.

Dave

The leaves turning is often true . Worked in Countryside for 20 Years . Leaves turning with mackerel cloud . Storm or unsettled weather . Can be extremely. Sheep or Cattle Laid on ground . Often low cold wind and rain .

Ann

When the leaves of the deciduous trees turn down a storm is coming and that has never failed me in the Hurricane Season. Another benchmark I use is the proliferation of butterflies hatching and/ or a particularly robust tropical fruit bearing season before a bad Hurricane Summer.

Pam

I all was taught the same thing but another way is if you see cows laying down in the pastures it’s a sign of rain coming

Karen

Makes perfect sense, observe the law of nature. Stay in tune with nature and you can realize the essence of life.

Kristie Weaver

I love this

Steve Ferrer

I have known thank you so much.

Ted Harrell

The old saying was ” ring around the moon rain by noon “

Marquita Martin

My mom called it fairy ring and it meant that the fairies would be dancing that night.

Jean Norman

My grandma told me when I was a little girl that it meant bad weather or rain

Jane Pelletier

My Father used to say, to count the stars in the halo and that was how many days away the storm would be.

Jeni

My Dad said the ring meant rain coming, the bigger the ring the longer time ’til rainfall.

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