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. (Image credit: Scott MacNeill | )

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

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 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]

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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.

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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

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for She began writing and producing content for in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.