NASA loves Nikon! Stunning lunar halo shot celebrated on NASA website

NASA loves Nikon! Stunning lunar halo shot celebrated on NASA website
(Image credit: Göran Strand)

A stunning shot of a lunar halo captured on a Nikon Z6 II has been featured on NASA's website, celebrating the shot as its Astronomy Picture of the Day. 

We're a bit late with our pinches and punches, but this magnificent moon halo photograph – captured by Göran Strand on the Nikon Z6 II (opens in new tab) – was named February's first astro pic of the day by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration. 

• Read more: Best camera for astrophotography (opens in new tab)

A renowned photographer and Nikon #Zcreator based in Östersund, Sweden, Strand captured the shot using a Z6 II with the brilliant Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S (opens in new tab) trinity lens, shooting at the 14mm wide end with a slow 15-second shutter speed, an aperture of f/5.6 and a low ISO200 sensitivity. 

Shot on the Nikon Z6 II with a Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S lens (@14mm, 15 secs, f/5.6, ISO200) (Image credit: Göran Strand)

The resulting panoramic image was composited together from six separate exposures, to create the final shot. 

"Have you ever seen a halo around the Moon? This fairly common sight occurs when high thin clouds containing millions of tiny ice crystals cover much of the sky," notes the description on the NASA website (opens in new tab).  

"Each ice crystal acts like a miniature lens. Because most of the crystals have a similar elongated hexagonal shape, light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the Moon Halo. 

"A similar Sun Halo may be visible during the day. Exactly how ice-crystals form in clouds remains a topic of research. In the featured image taken last week from Östersund, Sweden, a complete lunar halo was captured over snowy trees and rabbit tracks."

The Nikon Z6 II's weather sealing is certainly tested by the temperatures in snowy Sweden! (Image credit: Göran Strand)

Strand is no stranger to having his astro work recognized by NASA, along with other respected outlets such as National Geographic. In fact, in 2016 PostNord (the postal service jointly owned by Sweden and Denmark) issued a series of stamps featuring his images of the Northern Lights. 

On top of that, he was named Sweden's Astrophotographer of the Year in 2013 and 2016, and his credits include everything from Coldplay to the Discovery Channel to MSNBC. In short, his work is well worth checking out, so visit his website (opens in new tab) to see more of his stunning images!

Read more: 

Nikon Z6 II review
(opens in new tab)Nikon Z 14-24mm f/2.8 S review
(opens in new tab)Nikon Z6 II vs Z7 II (opens in new tab)
Best lenses for astrophotography (opens in new tab)
Best head torch (opens in new tab)

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The editor of Digital Camera World, James has 21 years experience as a magazine and web journalist and started working in the photographic industry in 2014 (as an assistant to Damian McGillicuddy, who succeeded David Bailey as Principal Photographer for Olympus). In this time he shot for clients as diverse as Aston Martin Racing, Elinchrom and L'Oréal, in addition to shooting campaigns and product testing for Olympus, and providing training for professionals. This has led him to being a go-to expert for camera and lens reviews, photographic and lighting tutorials, as well as industry analysis, news and rumors for publications such as Digital Camera Magazine (opens in new tab)PhotoPlus: The Canon Magazine (opens in new tab)N-Photo: The Nikon Magazine (opens in new tab)Digital Photographer (opens in new tab) and Professional Imagemaker, as well as hosting workshops and demonstrations at The Photography Show (opens in new tab). An Olympus and Canon shooter, he has a wealth of knowledge on cameras of all makes – and a fondness for vintage lenses and instant cameras.