Solar and lunar halos spotted in Quezon City

Filipino photographer Edwin Martinez captures both atmospheric phenomena

While it has been gloomy the past few days here in Manila, the sky opened up later to present something truly magical. On July 12 at around 9 p.m., the moon presented itself with a glowing halo. The next day, July 13, the sun, too, was accompanied by the luminescent ring. 

Immortalizing the celestial sightings is Filipino photographer Edwin Martinez. His latest shots of the solar and lunar halos were taken in West Triangle, Quezon City. 

DOUBLE PHENOMENA—Views of the solar and lunar halos from Quezon City (Photos by Edwin Martinez)

Being one of the Philippines’ premier landscape photographers, Martinez’s effort to capture such magnificent views was nothing new. 

Only last June, he got breathtaking images of a lunar halo in Oregon on the West Coast of the United States.

“There are some celestial occurrences that can be forecasted such as full moon types (pink, wolf, blood), eclipses, northern lights activity, meteor showers, etc. There are numerous apps that can give you those forecasts such as Star Chart. For the lunar and solar halos, they are more difficult since they can't be forecast,” Edwin told in an interview with the Manila Bulletin. “For the particular photos, it was by chance. I was closing the garage for the night when I saw the lunar halo, and for the solar halo, I was cleaning the car.”

Solar and lunar halos are formed with the help of millions of tiny ice crystals present in high tiny clouds. According to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), these elongated hexagonal crystals act like miniature lenses. The process involves “light entering one crystal face and exiting through the opposing face refracts 22 degrees, which corresponds to the radius of the moon halo.” The same also happens during the day with a sun halo. 

While witnessing the sun and moon halos in the Philippines is truly a one-of-a-kind experience, the country still has more to offer when it comes to photographers who would like to explore more of their passion for astrophotography. 

“You can drive, for like one hour, to Tanay and find a spot to photograph the Milky Way,” the photographer said. “With our position near the equator, we can easily do star trails since Polaris (North Star) is not way above the horizon unlike certain parts in North America where the Polaris is straight up and so distant to the horizon. The southern hemisphere, for me, has the most beautiful view of the Milky Way and Galactic core.”

As per taking the perfect shot of atmospheric phenomena, Edwin has one tip, and that is to “key in the right shutter speed.”

“The right exposure is the key in photographing these phenomena,” he said. “You have to key in the right shutter speed for you to get the right colors without under or overexposing. The focal length also of the lens is critical. For the solar halo, I used a wide lens, and for the lunar halo, a telephoto lens.”

To see more of Edwin Martinez’s works, you can visit his Facebook (EdwinMartinezPhotography) and Instagram (@EdwinMartinez) pages.

Hello, readers! Do you have a story you want us to feature? Send us a message on Facebook, Instagram, Tiktok, and Twitter and let’s talk about it.