Year End Moon Halo

As a huge snowstorm raged 500 miles to the west of Missouri and dumped feet of snow, the skies above the ICSTARS Ranch, located north of Warrensburg, Missouri were still filled with thin clouds. On the evening of December 30, 2006 a halo formed around the Moon. This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky. Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens. Because most of the crystals have a similar elongated hexagonal shape, light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the Moon Halo. A strong east wind kept the flag at the observatory flapping. This is a 5 second exposure with a Nikon D-100 digital camera and an 8mm fisheye lens at f2.8. Photo (C)2006 by Vic Winter.