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Lunar halo over Paranal Observatory | by Juan-Carlos Munoz-Mateos
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Lunar halo over Paranal Observatory

Clouds are astronomers’ worst enemies, but they’re really photogenic. I captured this glorious lunar halo a couple of days ago at Paranal Observatory. Halos around the Sun or the Moon are caused by tiny ice crystals in cirrus at high altitude, which refract the light at an angle of 22 degrees. More precisely, light of different colours is refracted at slightly different angles, which is why you can see a circular rainbow along the inner rim of the halo. In this family portrait of Paranal you can see the four 8 m Unit Telescopes, the four smaller Auxiliary Telescopes, and the VST telescope in the background. The UT4 telescope is shooting it’s mighty 22 watts lasers, as part of a technical test to characterise a new adaptive optics module to correct the atmospheric turbulence. Canon 6D + Rokinon 14 mm at f/4, 30 secs, ISO200.

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Taken on December 1, 2017