Photography : Astronomy : Distorted Moon

What is wrong with the Moon?! This is a shot from Chile of the Moon setting into a part of the atmosphere called the inversion layer. This is a layer of warmer air above the cooler air on the surface; the layer gets its name from inverting the normal decrease of temperature with height above the Earth's surface. The index of refraction (a measure of how much air bends light) increases as the temperature decreases, so the Moon is being distorted as it sets into the cooler air below the inversion layer. The entire atmosphere can act like a lens and distort the Moon, should you happen to be on the International Space Station!

The bottom picture is the last shot I took, and the Moon was still setting even after this!


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