This photo – taken January 28, 2018, by Josh Blash in Hampton, New Hampshire – shows what’s called a halo around the moon. These sorts of halos are made by ice crystals in the upper air. In fact, there are two halos here, with the outer one being the common 22-degree halo, whose image we see several times each day in photos sent in by people around the world. The inner halo is more rare. We asked sky optics guru Les Cowley of the website Atmospheric Optics about the inner halo, and he said:
The 9-degree halo is usually sharper. This one was probably generated by less-than-perfect crystals.
Pyramidal halos are fairly rare. Look out for them, but always shield the sun from both eyes. Mask it with a wall or tree.
Bottom line: Josh Blash captured this common 22-degree lunar halo, with a rarer 9-degree lunar halo inside it, on January 28, 2018.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.