Sun Halos | WNYT.com

Sun Halos

Reid Kisselback
Created: August 06, 2021 11:58 AM

Sun Halo | Michael Schwalbe Sun Halo | Michael Schwalbe

Ever go outside on a dry, mostly sunny day and see a ring that looks like a rainbow around the sun? That's called a sun halo!

A Sun halo is caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of light through ice particles suspended within thin, high altitude cirrus or cirrostratus clouds. As light from the sun passes through the ice crystals in the cloud, it is bent at a 22° angle, creating a circular halo around the Sun. The effect of light passing through these six-sided ice crystals also separates the light into its various color frequencies, making the halo look like a very pale rainbow, with red on the inside and blue on the outside.

This same process can occur for the same reason with the moon only we would call that a lunar halo.


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