Beautiful Photo of New Moon Evokes 'Star Wars' Cloud City

New Moon Over Clouds
A new image by project nightflight shows the new moon hanging over a sunset-lit cloud landscape, reminiscent of Bespin's Cloud City in the Star Wars universe, where Han Solo and Princess Leia stop for repairs during The Empire Strikes Back. (Image credit: project nightflight/

This stunning view of an extremely young moon over a cloudy landscape may look like the Cloud City of Bespin from "Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," but it is a view that is completely real.

Project nightflight, an effort led by astrophotographers Karoline Mrazek and Erwin Matys to spur interest and conservation of the night sky, photographed the sliver of a new moon on the island of La Palma, Spain on June 17, and captured a setting straight out of science fiction for their latest image. The project's work is online at

"Some nightfalls evolve into something spectacular," the photographers told in an email. "After a brilliant sunset, we set up our imaging gear and settled down to wait for the right moment to come. About twenty minutes later, we caught the first glimpse of the very young lunar crescent, barely over a day old." [The Moon: 10 Surprising Facts]

But the view didn't last long: as the young moon slowly developed into a silvery crescent, they had only a few minutes to capture the scene using a high-dynamic-range camera technique to catch all the variations in light.

"When we finally drove down the mountain, we discussed how much the scene had reminded us of George Lucas' Bespin Cloud City," the photographers said. "One of us even claimed to have seen the Millennium Falcon out of the corner of his eye."

Editor's note: If you have an amazing photo of the moon, or any other night sky sight, and you'd like to share with for a story or a gallery, please send images and comments in to

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Sarah Lewin
Associate Editor

Sarah Lewin started writing for in June of 2015 as a Staff Writer and became Associate Editor in 2019 . Her work has been featured by Scientific American, IEEE Spectrum, Quanta Magazine, Wired, The Scientist, Science Friday and WGBH's Inside NOVA. Sarah has an MA from NYU's Science, Health and Environmental Reporting Program and an AB in mathematics from Brown University. When not writing, reading or thinking about space, Sarah enjoys musical theatre and mathematical papercraft. She is currently Assistant News Editor at Scientific American. You can follow her on Twitter @SarahExplains.