Moondogs & Mars, New Zealand ~ Imaged on 30th January at Manawatu, North Island by Stefan Krivan. ©Stefan Krivan, shown with permission.

"While waiting for Mars to rise with the full Moon over the nearby Manawatu ranges, I noticed two faint Moondogs on both sides of the bright Moon. Once it became dark, the Moondogs became a lot brighter and at times they showed some faint colors when the Moon went behind some low cumulus clouds. The two Moondogs lasted for around 3 hours, which was very amazing since the Sundogs & Moondogs I've seen only usually last for a few minutes. At times a lunar circumzenithal arc & upper tangent were visible above the Moon, but were quite faint. These Moondogs were caused by hexagon plate-shaped ice crystals in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. They are probably the brightest Moondogs I've ever seen. This summer surprise was definitely something to remember."

Stefan's image nicely captures how we might hope to experience elusive moondogs through our own eyes rather than a long camera exposure. To Northern Hemisphere observers the sky is upside down. Mars is close to the Moon at 8 o'clock. Procyon is on the lunar 22° halo at 11 o'clock. The left-hand dog overlays Gemini.


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