Skip to main content

Lunar Halo Crowns the Moon Over Observatory in Striking Photo

Lunar Halo Over Frosty Drew Observatory
A lunar halo glows over Frosty Drew Observatory. Scott MacNeill captured this image at approximately midnight on Jan. 18, 2014 from Charlestown, R.I.

A beautiful lunar halo encircles the moon over an observatory in Rhode Island in this stunning image recently sent in to SPACE.com.

Skywatcher Scott MacNeill took this photo of the moon around midnight on Jan. 18 from Frosty Drew Observatory, Charlestown, R.I.

"We had about two hours of viewing before the clouds moved in," MacNeill wrote SPACE.com in an email. "The cool temps and super humid air kept us hopeful for a halo." [See more amazing night sky photos for January 2014]

12" Moon Globe. Buy Here
(Image credit: Space.com Store)

Halos around the moon, such as the one seen in this photo, are fairly common in the night sky. They are caused when light is diffracted from ice crystals formed in clouds in the Earth's atmosphere. Since the crystals are all of the same general shape, the light bouncing off them creates the circular pattern, creating the round halo shape.

To see more amazing night sky photos submitted by SPACE.com readers, visit our astrophotography archive.

Editor's note: If you have an amazing night sky photo or video that you'd like to share for a possible story or image gallery, please contact managing editor Tariq Malik at spacephotos@space.com.

Follow SPACE.com on Twitter @Spacedotcom. We're also on Facebook & Google+. Original story on SPACE.com.

Join our Space Forums to keep talking space on the latest missions, night sky and more! And if you have a news tip, correction or comment, let us know at: community@space.com.