Solar Halo Above Eastern Slovakia

June 06, 2022



Photographer:  Róbert Hlava  

Summary Authors: Róbert Hlava; Jim Foster

Shown above is an eye-catching 22-degree solar halo and glitter path that I observed over eastern Slovakia on the morning of January 18, 2020. Halos such as this one may result when hexagonal ice crystals, either in cirrus clouds or freely falling through the lower atmosphere (diamond dust), act like miniature prisms, refracting and dispersing sunlight. If the axis of a pencil-shaped crystal is approximately perpendicular to the direction of sunlight, a ray of sunlight will pass through two of the crystal’s side faces and be refracted roughly 22 degrees. Millions of these more-or-less randomly oriented crystals form circular halos.

I was ecstatic to be able to witness both the atmospheric halo and the glitter path on the ice-covered lake. Nature always seems to offer new surprises for us. Make sure to protect your eyes when looking toward the Sun.

Photo details: Nikon D5300 camera; 11mm; F13; 1/250 second exposure; ISO 100.

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