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I6167P2

View of 22 Degree Lunar Ice Halo above our street (Te Weka Street, Timaru)

 

I6176P

Twenty-two Degree Lunar Halo with the Historic Lighthouse at Maori Park. The green light is from a modern navigation light fitted to the far side of the lighthouse.

22 degree lunar ice halo above our street (Te Weka Street, Timaru) 12 May 2009

This night, I had seen a smaller 'corona' around the moon about 10:00pm when coming home. The smallish 'rainbow' ring around the moon being far more common, didn't pull my interest. But I kept an eye out during the night and finally, spotted the big one at about 2:20am in the morning. I photographed it for the next 40 minutes, un till the cloud thickened and the effect disappeared.

Strange... I seem to be seeing ice halos everywhere now

So at last I have found my first halo all by myself - well worth staying up half the night. Even so, I still think it is quite rare to see such large rings around the moon. First, the moon needs to be in full phase to show greatest effect.. Then, at the same time the cloud must form it's certain shaped ice crystals to create the effect.

Thinking about it, the weather has only a dozen short periods to 'get it right' each year, compared to a solar event, which can happen on any day. To further lessen the chances of seeing a Lunar Halo, we don't spend that long looking up into the night sky either. We do need our sleep!

On the other hand, while the occurrence is much rarer under full moon, it is more likely to draw our attention, should we be out an about - we all like to look up at the moon.

Technical details: I used a super wide angle lens to take a series of photos from high overhead down to the horizon. Later I joined on my computer into a vertical column getting the whole scene into one image.  When using my computer stitching program PTGui, I selected Transverse Mercator projection to keep the ring perfectly round and the foreground in realistic shape and proportion. (Canon 5D, 17mm-35mm super-wide lens, iso 400, 14 secs @f9)

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