Once in a Lifetime Halo Display Over Keen, Ontario

November 07, 2019

Fig.1-Oct.26.19 Halos and Arcs-A (002)

Fig.3-Oct.26.19 Arcs close-up enhanced and labeled (002)

November 2019 Viewer's ChoicePhotographer: Rick Stankiewicz 
Summary Author: Rick Stankiewicz

The clouds that drifted in this particular afternoon had just the right amount and configuration of ice crystals to produce a sky show very few people experience at my latitude in Keene, Ontario (Canada) -- a collection of ice halos and arcs rarely seen altogether. All this was clearly visible to the naked eye and the images I captured only hint at their true beauty. The following (top photo) is a list of what was visible during about a 30 minute period (bottom to top):

1) Parhelion (Sundog),
2) Parhelic Circle,
3) 22 Degree Halo (Solar Halo),
4) Upper Tangent Arc,
5) Upper Suncave Parry Arc,
6) Supralateral Arc and
7) Circumzenithal Arc (CZA).

All but two of these arcs were quite evident. I've included a labeled version of the same photo (click on top photo), which will assist in figuring out what I’m referring to.

I suspected there was more here than meets the eye, so I contacted atmospheric expert Les Cowley for a second opinion. He responded with not only a list that confirmed what was in my pictures but even reprocessed my image (bottom photo) to show an enhanced close-up of the top four arcs.

I’ve seen and photographed most of the more common halo phenomena over the years, but never before have I photographed the Upper Suncave Parry Arc (named after Arctic explorer, Sir William Edward Parry, who first recorded it) and the Supralateral Arc. So, to see them all together was a thrill to say the least. For me, this was an atmospheric display of a lifetime. It’s only taken 63 years for me to see this one, so I’m not holding my breath for another chance, but I won’t stop looking up.

Photo Details: Olympus Tough TG-860 camera; ISO 125; 1/2000 second exposure; f/6; iPhone 5s for the close-up image.