The rare ‘Moon Halo’ spotted above Manchester and what causes it

Daisy Jackson Daisy Jackson - 26th November 2023

Mancs have been wowed by a rare ‘moon halo’ in the night sky this weekend, with social media flooded with photos of the phenomenon.

Many spotted last night, as temperatures plummeted, that there appeared to be a bright white circle surrounding the moon itself.

According to the experts, haloes form when there are ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, which refract the moonlight.

Normally when there’s a phenomenon in the sky we here in Manchester miss out – remember when none of us could see the Aurora Borealis because of constant cloud again?

So the fact we got to join the rest of the UK in marvelling at last night’s moon halo was quite special.


One person wrote on Facebook: “Anyone else see the moon halo tonight? It’s amazing. Go take a look outside!”

Another said on X: “Mad moon tonight in Salford,” and described it as a ‘crop circle in the sky’.


Another posted: “Back in freezing Manchester & the Moon halo people are talking about is pretty impressive.”

The Met Office says of the Moon Halo: “Haloes require ice crystals to form – either from high cirrus cloud of free falling crystals. Typically sunlight or moonlight is reflected by ice crystals producing a white halo.”

The weather service added: “In the past haloes and other such atmospheric phenomena were used as an empirical form of weather forecasting before the development of meteorology. There is some degree of truth in this.


“The high cirrus cloud which contains the ice crystals required for haloes to form often signifies an approaching frontal system; however in many cases the front will be inactive or simply change course from the area – producing no rain.”

Read more

Featured image: Alkrington Village Craft Market, via Mint Manchester