Halos, double rainbows, supermoons and meteors

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Ifan Griffiths sent this wonderful picture of a ring or halo around the sun.

Halo around the sun by Ifan Griffiths.

To see a halo you need cirrus clouds high in the atmosphere. 

There is an old saying; "A ring around the sun or moon, means rain or snow coming soon."

There’s some truth in this, because cirrus clouds are often a sign of an approaching storm or warm front.

However, cirrus clouds not associated with a front can also produce a halo and in these cases there may not be any precipitation.

The showery weather this week has also been ideal for rainbows and even double rainbows. 

Double rainbow at Cardiff Bay barrage. Picture taken by Paul Rackley from Penarth

These occur when a secondary rainbow forms outside of the brighter, primary rainbow.

Blaize Bancroft in Barry also sent in a picture of a double rainbow

Last Sunday 10 August the full moon was the closest and largest full moon of the year and will not be so close again to Earth until the next supermoon on 28 September 2015.

David Rice from Carmarthen sent us this supermoon picture.

'Supermoon' by David Rice from Carmarthen


The annual Perseid meteor showers reach a peak on the night of 12 and 13 August.

The meteors belong to the comet Swift-Tuttle and consist of dust-sized particles which burn up on entering the Earth's atmosphere, at an altitude of 60 to 70 miles (96 to 113km), as the Earth passes through the trail left by the comet.

The impressive display can be traced as far back as 36 AD by Chinese astronomers.

The best way to observe them is to look towards the northeast after dark.

They appear to originate from the constellation of Perseus, which at midnight lies just below the easily recognisable 'W' of Cassiopeia.

The shower can be seen every year from mid-July and peaks around August 12.

During the peak, the rate of meteors reaches 60 or more per hour with the highest frequency of meteors likely just before dawn.

This year's display has been hampered by the waning gibbous moon which means some of the fainter meteors may not be visible.

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