Solar Halos and Pillars Observed Over Germany

January 12, 2022


Photographer: Heiko Ulbricht

Summary Authors: Heiko Ulbricht; Cadan Cummings

Timing is everything when it comes to photographing nature. This photo from October 18th, 2021, showcases an array of atmospheric phenomena around the Sun that day! It was the strongest halo phenomenon of my life, mind you in Cirrus clouds! Solar phenomena like these are the result of ice crystals in the atmosphere reflecting and refracting light to create these beautiful displays. Visible in the picture are: 22° degree halo, both sundogs, parhelic circle, upper tangent arc, parry arc (very rare), circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc and upper and lower sun pillar. The difference between solar halos and sundogs depends on how light interacts with the ice crystals in the atmosphere. Light passing through crystals oriented randomly result in a halo, whereas light passing through ice crystals positioned with their flat faces horizontally produces a sundog. It is very rare to see five solar phenomena visible at the same time!

Photo details: Canon EOS 6D + 12 mm Fisheye, ISO 100, 1/1600s, 13:29 UT

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