Photographer Captures Unique Image of the Moon Disguised as Saturn

Moon Ringed in Clouds Over Guatemala

Guatemalan photographer Francisco Sojuel was already having an incredible evening as he climbed the Acatenango volcano. It was Christmas Eve 2019 and he'd settled in at the basecamp when he noticed something breathtaking in the night sky. In the early morning hours, just before sunrise, Sojuel looked up and saw the Moon surrounded by a ring of clouds. Incredibly, the clouds made it look like the Moon was “dressing up” like Saturn. Recognizing the unique quality of the moment, Sojuel fired off some shots and came away with a once-in-a-lifetime image.

In his photograph, we can see the Moon circled by the clouds as it hovers over the landscape. A silhouette of Pacaya volcano and the Guatemalan highlands fills out the lower portion of the image and enhances its drama. According to the photographer, the cloud is actually a cirrostratus cloud. These high-level, thin clouds are made of ice crystals. At certain angles, they create halos around the moon. Given that there's no real halo around this Moon and the texture of the cloud is a bit fluffy, it might be a cirrostratus fibratus or a cirrus spissatus cloud. These are both denser and are often formed by strong winds.

Sojuel is known not only for his incredible landscape and adventure photography, which includes shooting live volcanos, but also his astrophotography. He takes in the night sky as he goes about his adventures, giving his own unique perspective on Central America's starry sky.

See more of Francisco Sojuel's beautiful astrophotography.

Milky Way Photography

Stars in the Night Sky Over Guatemala

Francisco Sojuel Astrophotography

Francisco Sojuel Astrophotography

Francisco Sojuel: Website |  Facebook | Instagram

My Modern Met granted permission to feature photos by Francisco Sojuel.

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Jessica Stewart

Jessica Stewart is a Staff Editor and Digital Media Specialist for My Modern Met, as well as a curator and art historian. Since 2020, she is also one of the co-hosts of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. She earned her MA in Renaissance Studies from University College London and now lives in Rome, Italy. She cultivated expertise in street art which led to the purchase of her photographic archive by the Treccani Italian Encyclopedia in 2014. When she’s not spending time with her three dogs, she also manages the studio of a successful street artist. In 2013, she authored the book 'Street Art Stories Roma' and most recently contributed to 'Crossroads: A Glimpse Into the Life of Alice Pasquini'. You can follow her adventures online at @romephotoblog.
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