Journal: News & Comment

Tuesday, July 20, 2004
# 11:15:00 PM:

Ice halos and sundogs

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A few weeks ago we saw the weirdest rainbow above our house. Our oldest daughter spotted it first, saying "hey, it's a rainbow shaped like a Y!" Theoretically, I suppose, it wasn't a rainbow, but an ice halo—or a series of halos and sundogs, to be precise—fairly high in the atmosphere. Take a look:

[Rainbows/sundogs in contact and bending in the sky]

I took the photo looking up, facing west as the sun approached the horizon in the evening, in the first week of July. In the upper right of the image you can see two halos in tangential contact with one another, with bending sideways Y shapes where they separate. Below them is a flowing, wave-like halo.

There were other visual artifacts in the sky that I didn't capture on the camera. Although these sorts of multiple halos are reasonably common, I'd never seen anything like them before. The layers of clouds that caused them were quite complex and beautiful too.

P.S. The photo of my unrepeatable holiday moment did turn out after all.


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