Eye in the Sky Over Delta, Utah

April 24, 2013


Photographer: Ray Boren 
Summary Authors: Ray Boren; Jim Foster

A high, intermittent blanket of cirrus clouds and the winter Sun combined to create a somewhat eerie but also awesome 22 degree halo over the mostly rural region of Delta, Utah. This is a community near the Great Basin terminus of the Sevier River in west-central Utah.

Trying to discern the extent of a colorful arc overhead as our car rolled south on U.S. 6, we were stunned upon taking in what looked very like an “eye in the sky” so huge that it dwarfed the snow-clad mountains and valley beneath it. To add further contrast, lengthy, jet contrails striped areas of both blue sky and thin cloud – occasionally cutting through the great ring itself, which was a tad darker on the inside. This darkened region appears less bright because sunlight isn't readily scattered here, as is the case with Alexander's dark band -- the band between a primary rainbow and a secondary rainbow. Such halos appear when sunlight passes through ice crystals in cirrus-type clouds like these. The crystals both reflect and refract the solar light passing through them. Absent the Sun, the full Moon is bright enough to create such rings at night. Make sure to protect your eyes when looking in the direction of the Sun. Photo taken on February 18, 2013.

Photo details: Camera Model: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 12.0mm; Aperture: f/11.0; Exposure Time: 0.0020 s (1/500); ISO equiv: 100; Software: QuickTime 7.6.4.