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What’s that rainbow ring around the sun?

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Credit: Heather Persinger

Credit: Heather Persinger

If you looked up at the sun today, you may have noticed a rainbow ring around the sun.

We received several photos of the ring. But what is it?

It’s commonly referred to as a 22-degree halo, or a sun halo.

A 22-degree halo is created by tiny ice crystals in high cirrostratus clouds. The sunlight refracts through the ice at a 22 degree angle, creating the halo effect.

Halos can also form around artificial lights in very col weather when ice crystals are floating in the air.

The 22-degree halo is a fairly common phenomenon. Similar halos and “moondogs” can be seen around a bright moon.


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