Elsa the snow queen can freeze anything she touches, shoot ice crystals from her wrists and even build entire ice palaces.
Now the star of Disney’s film Frozen looks like she’s been working her magic over a picturesque spot in southern Germany.
A stunning snap shared by NASA shows a church near Füssen in Bavaria surrounded by ‘ice halos’ – rare phenomena caused by frozen water crystals in the air.
These stunning optical spectacles can range in shape from rings to arcs and even spots in the sky.
This image is rare, according to NASA, because it captured multiple halos in one go, including one shaped like a hot air balloon.
A new snap shared by NASA shows a church near Füssen in Bavaria surrounded by ‘ice halos’ – rare phenomena caused by frozen water crystals in the air
In the Disney film Frozen, Elsa the snow queen can shoot beams of ice from her wrists and freeze anything she touches
What is an ice halo?
When sunlight reflects and refracts off of tiny ice crystals in the atmosphere, the result can be ice halos.
These stunning optical phenomena can range in shape from rings to arcs and even spots in the sky.
Typically sunlight or moonlight is reflected by ice crystals producing a white halo.
Source: Caltech/Met Office
The perfect winter scene was taken earlier this month by German photographer Bastian Werner, who was taking photos near the church.
Posting it to his Instagram account, Mr Werner called it ‘a perfect motif’ and ‘very rare’.
‘Sprinting like a maniac through the deep snow when I noticed the ice fog at the end of our St Coleman shooting session,’ he said.
‘Good 60-70cm of snow was next to the chapel.
‘I rarely rate 10/10 for my own photo, but it really doesn’t get any better.
‘I have experienced so much this year, but I didn’t expect anything like this!’
On Wednesday, NASA chose the photo for its Astronomy Picture of the Day (APOD) website, which uploads a fresh image for the public daily.
The space agency called it ‘one of the greatest spectacles’ and described the science behind the formation of the ‘unusual sky arcs’.
In the image, two prominent ice ‘halos’ are visible – the 22-degree halo and the 46-degree halo, which is higher up. A halo that looks like the outline of a hot air balloon
The stunning snap taken by a photographer at St Coleman Church near Füssen in Bavaria, Germany
Under cold enough temperatures – below 32°F or 0°C – water suspended in the air will freeze into ice, creating a faint fog.
These ice particles are not necessarily heavy enough to fall to the ground so they stay suspended in the air and can catch the sunlight.
The sunlight reflects and refracts –changes direction when it hits the crystals at an angle.
This results in an ice halo – an optical phenomenon that can range in shape from rings to arcs and even spots in the sky.
In the image, two prominent ice halos are visible – the 22-degree halo and the 46-degree halo, which is higher up.
Multiple arcs are also visible, including a horizontal arc that’s parallel to the ground and a subsun arc, the top arc to the sun.
Finally, the balloon-shaped curve connecting the top arc to the sun, called the heliac arc, is the rarest of all, according to NASA.
It was created by reflection from the sides of hexagonally shaped ice crystals suspended in a horizontal orientation.
According to Caltech, ‘exquisite halos’ can be observed from the south pole, resulting in especially spectacular images.
In Antarctica, because the temperatures are so cold and the air is so dry, snow crystals grow very slowly.
This slow growth tends to produce very clean hexagonal prisms, which are well suited for producing beautiful atmospheric displays.
Stunning ‘ice volcano’ forms in Kazakhstan from underground springs that spout water which freeze almost instantly
Kazakhstan’s Almaty region is covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice.
But the harsh weather has not stopped thousands of people from visiting the area’s ‘ice volcano’.
Standing 45 feet, the frozen structure formed over an underground spring that is still spouting water
This water almost instantly solidifies upon meeting the freezing air – and over time builds upon the cone design.
Kazakhstan’s Almaty region is covered in a thick blanket of snow and ice, but the harsh weather has not stopped thousands of people from visiting the area’s ‘ice volcano’
It is said to be the first to continuously spray water particles from the top opening that looks like the smoke spewed from a lava-filled volcano.
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Elsa, is that you? NASA shares a stunning photo of an ‘ice halo’ around the sun – and it looks just like a scene from Frozen