Tag Archives: halo

Double Rainbow Cloud

Wispy cirrus clouds/contrails against a blue sky, with a rainbow-colored section.

Two fragments of a circumhorizon arc seen on my way back from lunch today. I took some shots with my phone, because that’s what I had, then remembered that I had the good camera with me (I usually don’t) and grabbed it from the office. The clouds had shifted, but not far enough to destroy the effect completely, and I was able to get some interesting shots of one section, even if the other had mostly dissipated.

Saturation has been enhanced on both photos to bring out the colors.

Looking back over others I’ve seen, just about all of them have been visible while I was on my way to or from lunch. It makes sense. The optics do require the sun to be high in the sky for it to appear, so close to noon is a better time to spot them than, say, mid-morning or mid-afternoon.

Wisply cirrus clouds/contrails above palm trees. Two clouds have rainbow-colored segments at the same visual height.

Oh, funny thing: When I initially posted these on Pixelfed, my phone auto-corrected “cirrus cloud” to “citrus cloud.” Twice. And again when I tried to correct it!

Summer Halo

A short rainbow-like arc in the sky, backed by wispy clouds and appearing above the silhouette of a palm tree.

This solar halo fragment is high in the sky, near where you’d expect something rare like a circumzenithal arc. But it’s wrapped around the sun at just the right distance to be a common 22° circular halo. On July afternoons, the sun is high to begin with!

Compass in the Sky

A circular halo of light around the sun, with a silhouetted traffic signal.

Two views of a 22-degree circular halo around the sun that I saw on a walk this afternoon.

Halos are a lot more common than I used to think. Then I started actually looking for them. Even on a warm day like today, there can still be ice crystals higher in the atmosphere of the right size and shape to cause a display like this (or even more complicated ones).

A circular halo of light around the sun, with a silhouetted jacaranda tree.

Usually I just go for a utilitarian, “got a picture of the halo,” but this time I tried about five different things to block the sun, trying to compose an interesting shot as well. I’m going to have to keep that up!

Dreariest Circumhorizon Arc Ever

Smudgy clouds, colors enhanced to bring out a straight rainbow effect.

I could barely see any colors in the cloud at all without my polarized sunglasses, and when I took a photo through them, I still had to bump up the saturation.

Thin clouds and contrails cross the sky. A bright rainbow-like ring circles a spot just out of view above the frame. A fainter rainbow-like line runs across the sky below it.I’ve seen several of these over the years. The brightest one was nine years ago, while the longest was just last year. It’s a solar halo caused by reflections inside ice crystals (near ground level or higher up in the atmosphere) that in theory could circle the entire sky parallel to the horizon. In practice, it’s rare for ice crystals of the right shape and orientation to cover more than a small area from any given viewpoint, so mostly people see fragments of them.