An optical illusion at the South Pole • Earth.com

Last update: July 18th, 2019 at 6:00 am

Today’s Image of the Day from the European Space Agency features a phenomenon known as a light pillar at the South Pole in Antarctica.

This dramatic lunar spotlight is formed when a ray of light is illuminated between the Moon and the frozen ground. Ice crystals form in the atmosphere, through which the moonlight is reflected and refracted.

Jupiter is also visible in the photograph – just above the Moon and to the left.

The image was captured by ESA researcher Daniel Michalik and took first place in the “Astronomy” category of the Royal Society photography competition in 2017.

By Chrissy Sexton, Earth.com Staff Writer

Image Credit: European Space Agency

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