'Amazing' moon halo seen from the West Country

Moon halo, as seen from Bristol Image copyright Leighton James
Image caption Leighton James took this photo in Bishopston, Bristol, at 23:00 BST on Monday

A bright moon halo caught the attention of many in the West of England on Monday night.

Leighton James, a photographer in Bristol, said: "It's something I have never seen before and thought it looked quite amazing."

A halo around the moon appears when a thin layer of cirrus cloud - which is very high and made up of ice crystals - moves across the moonlit sky.

Refraction of the light by the ice crystals causes the halo to form.

Mr James said he saw it from Bishopston at 23:00 BST and it grew in size as the night went on.

Image copyright Leighton James
Image caption "It's something I have never seen before", the photographer said
Image copyright William Belcher
Image caption This photo was taken from Chippenham, Wiltshire, by William Belcher
Image copyright Craig Smith
Image caption "Ideal time to be out," tweeted fisherman Craig Smith from the banks of the River Severn

Several photos were taken and shared on social media.

Will Belcher, in Wiltshire, described it on Twitter as a "pretty decent moon halo", while Les Knowles in Cheltenham called it "amazing".

Dowager Countess Bathurst, who lives in Cirencester, said it was "stunning".

Ian Fergusson, BBC Weather forecaster for the West of England, who also snapped a picture from Somerset, said 22 degree lunar halos are caused by the same reason as solar ones.

Image copyright Ian Fergusson
Image caption Ian Fergusson took this photo in Cleeve, North Somerset

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