Parhelic Circle and Halo Over Tannersville, New York

October 23, 2008

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Photographer: Andrew Heiz
Summary Authors: Andrew Heiz, Jim Foster

This breathtaking 22 degree solar halo and parhelic circle was observed over the Catskill Mountains of New York State, near the town of Tannersville, on May 10, 2008. The photo was taken at 11:00 a.m. local time. Though the cloud cover increased during the afternoon, the halo continued to be visible, in various degrees of brightness and completeness, until approximately 5:00 p.m. Halos result when sunlight interacts (refraction) with randomly oriented, pencil-shaped ice crystals in cirrus type clouds. Parhelic circles, on the other hand, form when sunlight is reflected by the front faces of oriented crystals.