and another exciting halo event!
There is no luck except where there is discipline.
I’m breaking my weekly blog post routine to write a follow-up on yesterday’s post. I wrote that one on Saturday night to publish in the morning and upon going outside saw cirrus clouds and a 22 degree halo forming around the rising sun. While these are more common than rainbows, occurring on average 100 times a year, what happened a little later was very exciting for me.
Halos are formed by orientation of different types of crystals in the atmosphere and size, shape, alignment, and perfection all play a role. Type of crystal, column or plate, play a role in what type of halo appears and when I see a combination of ice halos start to appear, indicating the presence of both types of crystals…I start to pay attention.
This happened yesterday when I saw a solitary sundog appear to the left of the 22 degree halo. Sundogs are those bright rainbow colored spots that occasionally appear to the left and right of the 22 degree halo encircling the sun.
Although I may not see another group of halos like I photographed in yesterday’s blog post again since some of those halos are only visible on average 1-4 times a year, I’m always excited at the possibility.
On Sunday morning my persistence paid off and I was able to add a parhelic circle, visible on average 4 times a year, and a 120 degree parhelia, visible 1.2 times a year on average, to my collection! I also captured a supralateral or possible 46 degree halo, the two are often hard to differentiate between and occur on average 4.2 times a year, and a circumscribed arc.
In the image above, the 22 degree halo is in the bottom right, the parhelic circle is the white halo extending up the top left, and that small circular spot just above midline on the circle is the 120 degree parhelia.
I credit as always, Les Cowley of Atmospheric Optics for all of the knowledge that I’ve gained about this fascinating subject and the assistance that he provides me in identifying halos that I might not be familiar with. I encourage you to check out his site and can assure you that you will be amazed at what you will see and read about there!
it pays to look up!
Forests, lakes, and rivers, clouds and winds, stars and flowers, stupendous glaciers and crystal snowflakes-every form of animate or inanimate existence, leaves its impress upon the soul of man.
Orison Swett Marden
Crystals in the clouds…and the occasional display like this one only makes me long for more opportunities to see and photograph them.
This was an amazing display spanning about 15 minutes and although I had my camera with me, I was not dressed to be laying in the snow capturing it.
The brightest by far was the circumzenithal arc at the top which is touching the supralateral arc. Down from that is a parry arc, an upper tangent arc, and a 22 degree halo. Also appearing in other images were sundogs and a brief appearance of a parhelic circle.
This is my second opportunity capturing two of the more rare arcs, a supralateral visible on average 4.2 times a year, and a parry visible 1.1 times a year.
I credit the knowledge that I’ve gained about this atmospheric phenomena to the renowned physicist Les Cowley of Atmospheric Optics . I am always humbled when people of such stature find time to encourage and relate to someone like myself: just a girl with a camera in North Idaho. That in itself was a learning experience: reach out to others who share your passions.
I use my camera to explore. Looking though its lens has led me on countless voyages of discovery from halos and iridium flares to the stone houses of the October caddis.
I couldn’t wait to get home and change out of my cold, snow laden clothes and view my images on a larger screen. Better than any fireworks display and most definitely a gift from the universe.
Take time to look around you, go on an expedition, and don’t forget to look up!
Note: Never view the sun through your camera and never look directly at it. Photographing images this bright could damage your camera.