Moonlight illuminates a snowy scene in
night land and skyscape made on January 17 from
Lower Miller Creek, Alaska, USA.
Overexposed near the mountainous western horizon is
the first quarter Moon itself, surrounded by an
icy halo and flanked left and right
Sometimes called mock moons, a more scientific name for
the luminous apparations
is paraselenae (plural).
Analogous to a sundog or parhelion,
a paraselene is produced by moonlight refracted through thin,
hexagonal, plate-shaped ice crystals in high
As determined by
crystal geometry, paraselenae are seen
at an angle of 22 degrees or more from the Moon.
Compared to the bright lunar disk,
paraselenae are faint
and easier to spot when the Moon is low.
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