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Location: UFOUpDatesList.Com > 2012 > Feb > Feb 9

Re: Object Seen In The Sky Was 'Moon Dog'

From: Martin Shough <parcellular.nul>
Date: Thu, 9 Feb 2012 10:02:58 -0000
Archived: Thu, 09 Feb 2012 05:15:12 -0500
Subject: Re: Object Seen In The Sky Was 'Moon Dog'

>From: Don Ledger <dledger.nul>
>To: post.nul
>Date: Wed, 8 Feb 2012 13:29:52 -0400
>Subject: Re: Object Seen In The Sky Was 'Moon Dog'

>---- UFO UpDates - Toronto <post.nul>posted:

>>Source: TheCourier.Co.UK


>>Tuesday, February 7, 2012

>>British UFO Research Association Says Object Seen In The Sky
>>Was A 'Moon Dog'


>I'd be more inclined to tag this as an ice crystal cloud or
>other atmospheric weather phenomenon back lit from the setting

>Moon Dog sounds a bit off to me..

I agree with Don. I posted this to another list yesterday:

This is an interesting image because a bright moon-dog
attracting the attention of "scores" of people in daylight has
to be a bit unusual.

The time given in the article, 2:00 pm on Dec 29 2011, is not
"sunset" - it was well over an hour and a half before sunset in
Arbroath, i.e. the sun would have been about 14 diameters above
the horizon. This is bright daylight.

The moon was certainly up, about 23 degrees in the SE (145 deg),
but it was only a crescent (phase 0.25) about 60 deg away from
the sun, which was at 204 deg in the SSW. I'm just a bit
doubtful that the moon would have been bright enough to cause a
striking moon-dog in these conditions.

Going to the original link:


we find a less-cropped version of the photo (not a full frame,
because the image properties read "photo_17690_wide_crop.jpg"),
and this:

"Edward Cairney (59) spotted the seemingly disc-shaped object on
Wednesday afternoon when looking west towards Dundee from the
rear window of his home in Arbroath. He took two pictures of the
UFO, between 1.50-2.10pm, before it disappeared from view. He
said: "It was around sunset and at first I thought it was maybe
just the moon shining in a strange way or something like that."
He added: "I was standing at the back window looking to the west
towards Dundee."

So this was taken "looking to the west" or "towards Dundee" (WSW
from Arbroath). That places the object about 45 deg to the right
(west) of the sun at the time confirmed here (bracketed between
1:50 and 2:20 pm). But the photo seems to show essentially
clear-sky dusk conditions much closer to sunset (~3:37pm) than
one would expect within 45 deg of a sun that is well above the
horizon. (Bear in mind that the angular altitude of an ice halo
will be the same as the altitude of the source - ex hypothesi,
the moon, about 23 deg - so if this is an ice halo then we are
looking low in the sky, near the sun)

So if the time and direction are both accurate I wonder if the
image brightness and contrast has been manipulated to bring out
the object?

This might be done innocently by the photographer or by the
paper, but it would exaggerate the darkness of the sky and the
apparent brightness of the object. Even so, I feel sceptical
that this light in the west could be a moondog halo caused by a
crescent moon which was in the southeast fully 60 deg to the
left (east) of the sun, especially if it was widely noticed.

As Matt Lyons is quoted as saying in the article, although the
22 deg halo is the most common and brightest there are secondary
ice halos at large angle. True, but these are rare and much
fainter, even in optimum dark-sky conditions. In these daylight
conditions the idea of a faint large-angle moon halo exciting
scores of people to call the papers seems highly implausible to

There may be signs of the slight irisation or irridescence
(rainbow-like colour separation) caused by ice crystals, but the
effect is faint and it's hard to be sure. It certainly looks
like a high ice cloud, but FWIW I would say it is lit not by the
moon but almost entirely by the relatively nearby (angularly
speaking) sun.

The Courier article does refer to the sun, and it may be that it
slightly misrepresents Matt Lyons' statement by focusing so
strongly on the Anyway I tried to find out more about the story
and Matt's investigation at the BUFORA site but there is no
obvious reference to it there. It isn't listed in the scrolling
sidebar of recent reports this morning. The Recent Sighting
Reports page gives a 404 - Not Found error.

Martin Shough

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