Monday afternoon was a mostly sunny day, but a few ice halos graced our sky. Clouds high up in the atmosphere are called cirrus, and are primarily made up of ice crystals. These small crystals reflect and refract light to create some common, and some rare, sights. Many of you took notice and sent in some great examples!
One of the more common sights is the 22° halo we often see as a ring around the sun. Rays of light are deflected by ice crystals through angles near to 22° to form the inner edge of the halo.
These halos are often joined by sun dogs, or parhelia. These are the bursts of light you see on the sides of a halo.
The Circumzenithal Arc is a rarer sight. This looks like an upside down rainbow, or is often described as a smile in the sky. These arcs form when the sun is lower on the horizon, when the light can be refracted just the right way to produce this colorful effect.
The circumhorizon arc is similar to the circumzenithal arc. It create a burst of rainbow colors, commonly referred to as a fire rainbow. The circumhorizon arc appears when the sun is higher in the sky.
You can share your photos with us on our Live Alert 19 app!