Fascinating night sky explained

Weather

SYRACUSE, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Did you notice a big ring around the moon Thursday night?  It’s called a lunar halo.  

It happens when the moon’s light is refracted, reflected, and dispersed through ice crystals that are suspended in high cirrus clouds. As the light passes through the ice crystals, it’s bent at a 22-degree angle, creating a halo.  

Folklore says “ring around the moon means rain soon.” Lunar halos happen shortly before unsettled weather. This is a good rule because cirrus or cirrostratus clouds typically move in before rain and storm systems.  

Something else you might have noticed if you were looking up in the night sky was a big, bright star. It was Venus!  

The best time to look for it is near sundown. About an hour after the sun sets, as long as the sky is clear, you’ll see it in the western sky. It’ll be bright and visible through early May! 

Photo courtesy of Stue Weihl from Jewell, over Oneida Lake

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