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Weather Mysteries: The Moscow Halo Cloud

The strange, shining cloud that was recently sighted above Moscow caused a lot of curiosity and some concern but what exactly could have caused it?

Image via Wikipedia

A strange cloud with an unusual shape was recently spotted in the skies above Moscow, Russia.

Video- Moscow Halo Cloud

This phenomenon has been dubbed a ‘halo cloud’ for its similarity in appearance to that of a halo.

This halo is kind of big however. Big both in size and in the amount of attention it has received.

Described as everything from a UFO to a sign of the apocalypse, the cloud has stirred admiration, awe and curiosity worldwide.

What are the explanations for this phenomenon?

It’s said by some to be meteorological in origin, like the Aurora Borealis and ball lightning (luminous, moving balls which have been observed during thunderstorms).

Here are some weather facts to help you draw your own conclusions:

The sky gets brighter around clouds. Over several years, satellites have measured halos around clouds, which extend as far as 9 miles away from the clouds.

Clouds behave like mirrors in the sky. They reflect sunlight and create a halo effect around them.

Clouds actually cool the earth by reflecting solar energy back into space. Even when the sky appears to be cloudless, particles in the sky are still present, reflecting energy back into the sky.

Sometimes, large circular gaps appear in clouds. These gaps are called fallstreak holes.

They occur in cirrocumulus or altocumulus clouds.

Fallstreak holes are formed when the water temperature in a cloud is just approaching freezing.

There is a gorgeous picture of a fallstreak hole on Jpgmag. The picture was taken by David Lee Tiller. Kristi83 also has a great picture on Flickr!

When the halo cloud appeared, there was atmospheric interference caused by cold air from the Arctic region. Several cold fronts had also passed through Moscow around that time.

So, what do you think?

Whatever the explanation is, the halo cloud is really something to see!

 If you enjoy looking at phenomena such as eclipses and the like, make sure you look at this one.

It’s available on YouTube!

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User Comments
  1. athena goodlight

    On October 15, 2009 at 10:59 am

    It must be really fascinating to have seen it with the naked eye. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Ruby Hawk

    On October 15, 2009 at 10:09 pm

    it must have been an eclipse.

  3. SharifaMcFarlane

    On October 16, 2009 at 9:01 pm

    Hello Ruby Hawk!

  4. SharifaMcFarlane

    On October 16, 2009 at 9:04 pm

    Hello Athena.
    I would have liked to see it too.
    I can imagine how frightening it must have been though to look up and see this thing for the first time.
    Thanks for reading!

  5. Leonardo da Vinci E.

    On October 17, 2009 at 11:29 am

    Science and inquiry has yet to map out all areas of the universe or knowledge itself, but it is certainly going in the right direction to inquire with a mind leaving out the mysticism and superstition which imagination loves so well. Your selected title set up the curiosity of your reader like an expert.

  6. Melody SJAL

    On October 25, 2009 at 4:52 am

    Have not seen it yet, thanks for sharing.

  7. SharifaMcFarlane

    On January 1, 2010 at 11:26 am

    Thanks for reading Melody

  8. SharifaMcFarlane

    On January 1, 2010 at 11:28 am

    Thanks Leo D.

  9. 8Shei8

    On February 1, 2010 at 5:45 pm

    I heard about this! They say it is a reflection, but we know better :)

  10. SharifaMcFarlane

    On February 2, 2010 at 7:58 am


  11. Francois Hagnere

    On March 4, 2010 at 5:35 am

    As usual when we face such phnomena, imagination starts. Those fallstreak holes are quite impressive. A very enjoyable and interesting read. Thank you my friend!

  12. SharifaMcFarlane

    On December 4, 2010 at 6:39 am

    The fallstreak holes are really interesting phenomena Francois.
    Many wonderful things in the world around us.

  13. Geny

    On January 8, 2011 at 10:18 am

    Thanks for sharing

  14. SharifaMcFarlane

    On January 29, 2011 at 12:26 am

    You’re welcome.

  15. FX777222999

    On January 5, 2012 at 7:23 pm

    Nice sharing this phenomenon.

  16. SharifaMcFarlane

    On January 5, 2012 at 7:34 pm

    Hi Fx.

  17. gaby7

    On September 30, 2012 at 11:49 am

    Loved this Sharifah

  18. Tiki33

    On October 22, 2012 at 7:54 pm

    This is fascinating. I have seen this type of weather event.

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