The Moon: Ring

ambience: Gabra “Il Bati” New Moon chant

We’re listening to music of the nomadic Gabra people of eastern Africa. It’s a chant for the new moon. For people in many cultures, the moon is a guiding light through the cycles of nature, telling them when to plant, when to harvest, and when to hunt. There’s one lunar phenomenon with a high profile in traditional folklore that’s especially visible at this time of year. I’m Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. On winter nights like tonight, you can sometimes see a ring around the moon. According to Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the ring has often been seen as a harbinger of changing weather.

“Farmers have always ascribed the prospect of rain or some form of inclement weather to the appearance of a ring around the moon, which is very true because you’re getting the ring by refraction of moonlight from ice crystals in very high altitude clouds, the same effects that cause rainbows and glories, halos around the sun, that sort of thing to a lesser extent apply with the moon. The moon’s light is much more feeble so it’s not as easy to see as perhaps a ring around the sun, but that is probably the most unusual aspect of the moon that people tend to bring to my
attention. And it’s something which is fun to look for and it’s especially prevalent this time of year, the winter season, because we tend to have fewer convective storm systems like thunderstorms and that sort of thing, and more storm systems that are led by very high altitude clouds. So that’s something to look for more in the skies of autumn and winter than it is in the skies of the spring and the summer.”

If you’d like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.

The Moon: Ring

If you look into the heavens tonight, you just might see a ring around the moon.
Air Date:01/10/2001
Scientist:
Transcript:


ambience: Gabra "Il Bati" New Moon chant

We're listening to music of the nomadic Gabra people of eastern Africa. It's a chant for the new moon. For people in many cultures, the moon is a guiding light through the cycles of nature, telling them when to plant, when to harvest, and when to hunt. There's one lunar phenomenon with a high profile in traditional folklore that's especially visible at this time of year. I'm Jim Metzner, and this is the Pulse of the Planet. On winter nights like tonight, you can sometimes see a ring around the moon. According to Geoff Chester of the U.S. Naval Observatory, the ring has often been seen as a harbinger of changing weather.

"Farmers have always ascribed the prospect of rain or some form of inclement weather to the appearance of a ring around the moon, which is very true because you’re getting the ring by refraction of moonlight from ice crystals in very high altitude clouds, the same effects that cause rainbows and glories, halos around the sun, that sort of thing to a lesser extent apply with the moon. The moon’s light is much more feeble so it’s not as easy to see as perhaps a ring around the sun, but that is probably the most unusual aspect of the moon that people tend to bring to my
attention. And it’s something which is fun to look for and it’s especially prevalent this time of year, the winter season, because we tend to have fewer convective storm systems like thunderstorms and that sort of thing, and more storm systems that are led by very high altitude clouds. So that’s something to look for more in the skies of autumn and winter than it is in the skies of the spring and the summer."

If you'd like to hear about our new Pulse of the Planet CD, please visit our website at pulseplanet.com. Pulse of the Planet is made possible by the National Science Foundation.