Rare ‘Moon Dog’ Captured In Antarctica While Epic ‘Super Pink Moon’ Lights-Up Arabian Desert
May’s full Moon, traditionally called the “Pink Moon” in North America because this time of year sees the flowering of phlox.
That’s not the case globally, but the name has stuck regardless. It was termed a “supermoon” because out satellite was almost as close to Earth as it gets on its slightly elliptical orbit.
The result was a full Moon about 6% larger than normal, but a much rarer event was photographed around it close to the South Pole.
Not, not an actually pink Moon (a common misconception), but a “moon dog.”
Rarely seen, though typically only spotted only when the full Moon is low in the sky, a “moon dog” is a halo caused by hexagonal ice crystals in thin clouds, which refract moonlight.
Officially known as “paraselenae,” they’re also called lunar halos, moon rings and winter rings.
This image (above) was shot by Matt Young at the South Pole Telescope, a 10-meter diameter telescope at the Amundsen–Scott South Pole Station close to the South Pole in Antarctica.
For fans of rare solar phenomena the “White Continent” is hotting up. Antarctica will see a spectacular total solar eclipse on December 4, 2021 when it will be possible to view an eclipsed Sun low on the horizon above ice-scapes and floating icebergs.
Meanwhile, about 8,000 miles away on the Arabian Peninsular a team were out to capture the very same “Super Pink Moon” in a completely different environment.
Partnering with local astro-photographer Vinay Swaroop Balla, the Qatar National Tourism Council (QNTC) has issued these stunning images of the “Super Pink Moon” besides camels, the desert and some landmarks in Qatar’s capital, Doha.
The photos are partly to promote Qatar as a destination for stargazing, with new astro-toursim packages announced for when the country reopens its borders later this year.
An “Arabian Nights” package includes a moon-lit camel safari and stargazing with an astronomer, but do be careful on timing; you can never get a full Moon AND a dark sky on the same night because the big, bright full Moon rises at dusk and sets at dawn, looking beautiful all night, for sure, but also bleaching the night skies and making stargazing virtually impossible. In reality you have to choose one or the other (go around New Moon for truly dark, moonless skies).
The package includes BBQ dinner banquets by the campfire and a stay at the Regency Sealine Camp in the south-east of Qatar overlooking the UNESCO-protected Khor Al-Adaid, where sand dunes meet the ocean.
Qatar has recently been the perfect place to view a spectacular “ring of fire” solar eclipse on December 26, 2019.
It was caused by the very opposite of a “supermoon,” when our satellite was the furthest it gets from Earth in its monthly orbit. Consequently smaller in the sky, it wasn’t able to full cover the Sun when the eclipse occurred, resulting in a “ring of fire” around the Moon.
From Qatar is was possible to see a rare “Devil’s Horns” crescent sunrise as a partially eclipsed Sun poked above the horizon.
Although the “Super Pink Moon” was impressive, it’s nothing compared to what will happen next month as a “Super Flower Blood Moon Eclipse”—a rare total lunar eclipse—will see the lunar surface visibly turn a reddish color for about 15 minutes.
The key date for your diary is May 26, 2021. However, lunar eclipses are visible from about half of the Earth’s surface, and this one will only be seen by those around the Pacific Rim in western U.S. states, western South America, the islands of the Pacific, Eastern Asia, Australia and New Zealand.
Wishing you clear skies and wide eyes.