Manitobans treated to rare celestial sight

Lucky Manitobans were able to catch a glimpse of a rare celestial sight in the sky Monday night.

Several people reported seeing a ring of light around the moon, and snapped photos, some of which were sent to CTV News Winnipeg.

Danielle Pahud, a University of Manitoba instructor and director of the Lockhart Planetarium, examined the photos and said they were moon dogs, the rare counterpart to sun dogs.

“You have the moon in the centre,” she said. “And then little dots or arcs of rainbow or bright light. And then in rare cases, you can get a sun halo or a moon halo, which was the case last night, where you get a bright ring all the way around the moon or the sun.”

(Submitted photo Andrew Dueck)

Pahud said there are only certain conditions when a moon dog is possible

“You need really cold conditions in the upper atmosphere,” she said. ”So you need some ice crystals really high up in the atmosphere, or very thin cirrus clouds. And if you have those two things, there’s a good chance you can see them.”

It also needs to be a full moon or near full moon outside for a moon dog to form.

“A crescent moon just isn’t bright enough to create them,” Pahud said.

Pahud described moon dogs as “spectacular” and people should take the time to see them if they form.(Submitted photo Sue Green)

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