Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2013 June 28
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A Super Moon's Halo
Image Credit & Copyright: Luis Argerich

Explanation: A Full Perigee Moon rose as the Sun set last Sunday. At its closest to Earth it was, by just a bit, the year's brightest and largest Full Moon also known as a Super Moon. Seen from Punta Piedras, Argentina and the mouth of the Rio de La Plata, near Buenos Aires, the Super Moon's light created this magnificent circular lunar halo. Still, the size of a lunar halo is determined by the geometry of six sided water ice crystals in planet Earth's high, thin clouds. The crystals deflect the rays of moonlight more strongly through a minimum angle of 22 degrees. So this halo has an inner radius of 22 degrees, just like the halos of the less-than-super moons. Even more common than a Super Moon, beautiful 22 degree halos can be spotted at any time of year.

Tomorrow's picture: a longer tale

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