Solar Halo and Lunar Halo Observed from Zsámbék, Hungary

March 29, 2021


Photographer: Tamas Abraham 
Summary Author: Tamas Abraham; Jim Foster

Featured above are two photos of 22-degree halos that I observed from Zsámbék, Hungary, a few weeks back. The top photo shows a solar halo taken on January 18, 2021. At center are the ruins of the 900-year old Premontre monastery church that was used here to mask the Sun, permitting the halo itself to be more easily seen. The lower photo shows a lunar halo taken on January 25. Note that the stars of Orion are twinkling through the halo at the 4:00 position.

Whether observed at night or day, 22-degree halos (22-degrees is the halo’s radius) form when randomly oriented, pencil-shaped ice crystals refract sunlight or moonlight. On occasion, these crystals are free-falling in the atmosphere but most often they compose cirrus clouds. In order for the complete halo to be seen, the Sun or Moon must be at least 22-degrees above the horizon.

Photo Details: Canon EOS 400D camera; Canon EF-S 10-22 USM lens.