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Friday, January 10, 2014

Frigid Moon

The last couple of nights have been very cold, which is probably what caused the moon to exhibit an optical phenomenon known as the Corona. 

Here's the definition from Wikipedia:

In meteorology, a corona is produced by the diffraction of light from either the Sun or the Moon by individual small water droplets (and sometimes tiny ice crystals) of a cloud or on a foggy glass surface. The corona consists of small number of concentric colored rings around the celestial object and a central bright aureole. The angular size of the corona depends on the diameters of the cloud droplets - small droplets produce large coronae.

 For the same reason, the corona is clearest when the size of the droplets is most uniform. Coronae differ from halos in that the latter are formed by refraction (rather than diffraction) from comparatively large rather than small ice crystals. Reddish colors always occupy the outer part of a corona's ring. (This is an atmospheric Airy disc.)

This photo is a composite of three separate exposures to display a wider dynamic range as the Corona surrounding the moon was a little too bright to capture enough highlight detail in a single shot.