Thursday, April 17, 2014

Solar 22° halo




A funny thing happened yesterday, just a day after the blood moon eclipse. My husband worked from home,  and we had a nice lunch outside on our porch enjoying truly perfect weather, an unusual 70 something degrees for this time of the year. As we finished lunch, he laid down on the pool lounger and looked at the sky. His expression changed to surprised one suddenly telling me to look up. And there we stood together under the mid-day sun in an awe, experiencing our first sighting of such a kind.




It is quite funny that both of us are 50 years old and have never seen something like it before in our lives. So, we stood there contemplating what could cause such a phenomenon. My first thought was that it was somehow connected to the moon eclipse, and therefore it was a certain positioning of the planets. We also joked that aliens are coming or the world is coming to an end.
Then I went online and looked up for images about sun rings, and mystery was solved. We discovered it was a solar halo or specifically 22° halo.
These large circles form around the sun when the sky is covered by thin cirrus clouds and the sunlight passes through them at a certain angle and gets reflected through millions of hexagonal ice crystals.
I had to put on double sunglasses to prevent hurting my eyes to be able to take few photos of it.
It lasted for more than an hour, and we alerted a couple of friends to look at the sky. None of them have ever seen it before in their lives either, although reading about it online they're apparently quite an often sight in the sky.
Halos are even used to forecast weather, they are a sign that rain is coming. 
And today we have very cloudy skies and rain on the way.