Stunning photo of Moon 'disguised as Saturn' thanks to rare cloud phenomenon revealed

AN INCREDIBLE image of the Moon looking like Saturn has been captured by a lucky photographer in Guatemala.

From the perspective of the Acatenango volcano base camp rings of clouds disguised our closest neighbour as the famous ringed planet.

The majestic shot was captured by photographer Francisco Sojue.

He hiked for six hours to get above the Acatenango base camp to get the perfect view.

The snap was taken just before sunrise.

It shows the Moon with clouds perfectly positioned in the form of rings.

Nasa shared the image on its Astronomy Picture of the Day website.

It wrote: "Why does Saturn appear so big? It doesn't — what is pictured are foreground clouds on Earth crossing in front of the Moon.

"The Moon shows a slight crescent phase with most of its surface visible by reflected Earthlight known as ashen glow.

"The Sun directly illuminates the brightly lit lunar crescent from the bottom, which means that the Sun must be below the horizon and so the image was taken before sunrise."

Saturn is the sixth planet from the Sun and is famous for its rings.

The real Saturn actually has thousands of small rings.

Billions of pieces of ice, dust and rock make up the rings.

These pieces are said to vary in size from a grain of salt to the size of a building.

Famous astronomer Galileo first observed the rings with his telescope in 1610.

In more recent times, Nasa's Cassini spacecraft made its final approach to Saturn in 2017 and then dove into the planet's atmosphere, losing all contact with Earth.

The Moon – our closest neighbour explained

Here's what you need to know…

  • The Moon is a natural satellite – a space-faring body that orbits a planet
  • It's Earth's only natural satellite, and is the fifth biggest in the Solar System
  • The Moon measures 2,158 miles across, roughly 0.27 times the diameter of Earth
  • Temperatures on the Moon range from minus 173 degrees Celcius to 260 degrees Celcius
  • Experts assumed the Moon was another planet, until Nicolaus Copernicus outlined his theory about our Solar System in 1543
  • It was eventually assigned to a "class" after Galileo discovered four moons orbiting Jupiter in 1610
  • The Moon is believed to have formed around 4.51billion years ago
  • The strength of its gravitational field is about a sixth of Earth's gravity
  • Earth and the Moon have "synchronous rotation", which means we always see the same side of the Moon – hence the phrase "dark side of the Moon"
  • The Moon's surface is actually dark, but appears bright in the sky due to its reflective ground
  • During a solar eclipse, the Moon covers the Sun almost completely. Both objects appear a similar size in the sky because the Sun is both 400 times larger and farther
  • The first spacecraft to reach the Moon was in 1959, as part of the Soviet Union's Lunar program
  • The first manned orbital mission was Nasa's Apollo 8 in 1968
  • And the first manned lunar landing was in 1969, as part of the Apollo 11 mission

In other space news, Nasa's Curiosity rover took the ultimate 'social distancing selfie' on Mars.

Elon Musk's SpaceX has launched its sixth load of 60 Starlink satellites into space.

And, he water that once flowed on Mars contained just the right ingredients to support life, scientists say.

What do you think of these Moon pictures? Let us know in the comments…

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