moons

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spaceman21

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I was at a fair a couple days ago when I saw what appeared to be three different moons in the sky at the same time one looked normal but at the other end of the sky the other two looked a little dull. They where all the same shape and size so Im asking if anyone would have an idea of what I saw?
 
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MeteorWayne

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My best guess would be that what you saw were called "moon dogs". This phenomena is produced when you are looking through a thing layer of cirrus (high, ice crystal) clouds. The light from the moon is reflected in the ice crystals producing two dim moon images on either side. It's unsuall only close to the full moon when there is enough light from the for this to be observed. If you had looked closely, you might have even been able to see a slight tinge of color to the false moons on either side.

This is very similar to the much more easily seen "sun dogs"

For an overview of optical effects in the sky caused by clouds and water droplests, spend a little time looking around here:

http://www.atoptics.co.uk/

Here's the specific page for Moon Dogs:

http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/parmoon.htm

Welcome to Space.com

Wayne
 
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kg

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MeteorWayne":10kz76e8 said:
... This phenomena is produced when you are looking through a thing layer of cirrus (high, ice crystal) clouds.
Here's the specific page for Moon Dogs:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/parmoon.htm
...Wayne
This website reffers to the crystals as "diomond dust" but does not seem to explain what that is. I have also heard that sun dogs on mars might be made of water ice and or CO2 ice.
 
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MeteorWayne

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kg":l41go1k2 said:
MeteorWayne":l41go1k2 said:
... This phenomena is produced when you are looking through a thing layer of cirrus (high, ice crystal) clouds.
Here's the specific page for Moon Dogs:
http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/parmoon.htm
...Wayne
This website reffers to the crystals as "diomond dust" but does not seem to explain what that is. I have also heard that sun dogs on mars might be made of water ice and or CO2 ice.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diamond_dust
 
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spaceman21

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Thank you so much. What you explained covered all of it.
 
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MeteorWayne

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Glad to help.

Moon Dogs are pretty rare, since everything has to go well with the much fainter moon to see them. The sun is about 500 times brighter, so sun dogs are much easier to see.

I also should point out that what you saw was caused by the more likely hexagonal plate ice crystals that produce sun dogs, since it is unlikely you were in the diamond dust zone of -40 degrees :)
 
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