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Moon Halos Hover Over Central Oregon Coast

Published 09/28/2012

Moon Halos Hover Over Central Oregon Coast

(Depoe Bay, Oregon) – It's a fascinating mix of astronomy, meteorology and beach vacation-ology on the Oregon coast, all of it coming together in fine form Thursday night. Some brilliant examples of a moon halo were seen above Depoe Bay and Gleneden Beach in the wee hours of Friday – something that is often the harbinger of cold weather, but in this case it's paradoxically happening just before some really warm weekend weather.

The photographs here show the moon halo from Depoe Bay and the areas around the Whale Watch Center.

Moon halos are the result of tiny ice crystals lurking high in the sky, usually around 20,000 feet above and existing as thin, wispy clouds.

According to the weather science site Indiana Public Media, you may not notice these kinds of clouds until night falls because they're hard to see during the day. But their effect on moonlight makes them pop out.


“Incoming light rays from the moon are bent, or diffracted, by these ice crystals at an angle of 22 degrees,” the website says in its explanation. “This means that in addition to the direct moonlight, you will also see diffracted moonlight in a circle 22 degrees away from the moon. This is about the distance of your fist, held at arm’s length.”

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Some halos have a rainbow quality with reds and blues, although most tend to be a giant white ring around the moon as seen on the central Oregon coast.

The website said these can mean rain or snow are coming soon, and they are often the forerunners of storm clouds right behind. This does not quite appear to be so for the Oregon coast at least, as the forecast for the weekend is calling for mostly sunny skies and temps near a balmy 70 degrees.

This time of year brings what is called the “Second Summer” to the coast – the warmest weather of the year happens in September and early October. Recent days have been living up to that and will continue to do so.

Below: the moon begins to rise over Cape Lookout State Park earlier on Thursday, just after dusk. Where to stay in these areas - Where to eat - Maps and Virtual Tours

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More moon shots from the Oregon coast below:

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