Interesting Photo of the Day: Amazing Halo Phenomenon Photographed over Finland

The Northern Lights are the envy of many after-dark photographers who haven’t yet caught sight of them. They make for beautiful, other-worldly images. However, there are plenty of other awe-inspiring happenings in the nighttime sky for photographers to seek out.

Finnish photographer Pauli Hanninen shot this almost mystical photograph of his family gazing at the sky on the outskirts of Sirkka village, near Levi fell. He and his family were lucky enough to witness the convergence of several somewhat rare phenomena. The effects in the sky are caused by events that occur only very particular conditions when the moon is full or nearly full and ice crystals form in the atmosphere.

halo effect in night sky

Halo Phenomenon Photographed in Sirkka, Finland (Via Imgur, Click for Larger Size)

Though the halo effect, arcs, and bright lights in the sky might appear supernatural, or even fake, they aren’t all that out of the ordinary in some parts of the world. The bright dots in the sky are known as moon dogs, or in scientific terms, paraselenae. They are caused by moonlight hitting ice crystals that form inside cirrus clouds. The halos and arcs are additional optical phenomena caused by ice crystals in the atmosphere.

Next time you stay indoors on a moonlit night, imagine the photos you could be missing. There are dozens of types of night sky events that can be explained by concepts of atmospheric optics, but sometimes the wonder they create in photographs overshadows the logical explanations.

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5 responses to “Interesting Photo of the Day: Amazing Halo Phenomenon Photographed over Finland”

  1. doog says:

    So much to know so much to explore.

    This picture is nothing but kind of rainbow. Instead of sun its a moon, instead of rain dropa its ice crystal. Simple things to understand, see and learn. There is so much waiting to explore.

    Thanks to the photographer. Its hard to bring yourself out in winter esp when the new moon and full moon show low temps.

  2. Brian in Whitby says:

    I once attended a lecture on these phenomena. The bright points to the left and right of the sun are called Sun dogs. They are formed when the sunlight passes through plate-like hexagonal crystals. beca8use the crystals are flat, they tend to fall through the air with the flat plane of the crystal aligned horizontally. The refraction of light through the crystals results in these bright spots. The ring is caused by hexagonal, cylinder shaped crystals, (Like a pencil) . When these crystals fall, there is no preferrred alignment so they refract light in all directions resulting in the ring.
    They are very beautiful and so is the physics behind them.

  3. Part of the explanation for these lovely images is that on the nearby slopes of the Levi Ski resort the snow cannons had been put into action for the first time that year. Snow hadn’t fallen much in Lapland, but many of the bigger resorts were due to open, so all along the hills and cross country tracks the cannons were blasting snow into the air. This always produces a huge amount of ice crystals that are carried by the winds to the nearby villages.

  4. Suomi Design says:

    Amazing pictures, absolutely brilliant!

  5. Serfass says:

    in january 1973, I was in convalescence in Trois-Epis near Colmar France.
    Each day i walked trough the country (800 m). I could take a photo of the same phenomenon with my Nikkormat FT. It was wery cold weather minus 10°C and the sky had many altocumulus, sun light was diffracted and appears as 3 suns !

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