Rare Beautiful Sky Phenomenon Captured Early Saturday Morning in Minnesota. Who Saw it?
I am an avid sky gazer, I've definitely shared that a time or two with everyone. But like anyone, you learn something new everyday! This weekend, I learned something new about the night sky.
First, let me set the scene. Jake (my boyfriend) and I had headed up more north for the weekend for a friends holiday gathering that we call the AlcoHoliday Party. We've been holding this friend gatherings for 15 years and every year we try to make it a point to get together and enjoy good food, drinks and laughs, since we know as we get older its not always the easiest to see each other all the time.
Anyway, this year we had our get together in lakes area, near Pelican Lake in Minnesota. Where it was a little less crowded and more in the country. Meaning at night, when you look up at the sky, the stars literally feel endless. But it's also where we have seen the Aurora Borealis vividly. Been able to stop and stare at the Milky Way and just stare up at the sky for hours with no light noise to interrupt the view.
Now being my boyfriend and I are the people who rise and "shine" a little too early, usually between 3:45-4am during the weekday. You can imagine that Friday night we couldn't quite hang late with our friends. I was pretty proud that we made it to around 11pm before petering out to get rest for the big festivities the next day.
Next morning though I learned we missed a rare phenomenon that I didn't even know was a thing...a Moon Dog had been spotted in the sky early Saturday morning in the Minnesota sky and I was so sad I missed it.
I have seen quite a few really stunning sun dogs in my life, but a moon dog was something completely new to me. Our gracious host for the weekend, our friend Chad, did however get to see it and even captured this beautiful picture of the incredible sky halo.
I then had to learn a little more about moon dogs and how they happen and what makes them rare. Turns out it has several names according to Montana Naturalist, it includes:
lunar halos, moons rings, or winter rings.
Also have seen it called a mock moon. These brilliant views, Crystal Links says,
is a relatively rare bright circular spot on a lunar halo caused by the refraction of moonlight by hexagonal-plate-shared ice crystals in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds.
The moon has to be bright enough to form a moon dog for us to see, which is why they are rarer than a sun dog. They can be seen year round, but are more likely to be seen in the winter. Meaning keep an eye out, you just never know when you might see one. I know I'll keep one eye to the sky now for this brilliant sky phenomenon now that I am aware of them. Like I said the more you know!
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