All Weather News

Sun Halo Formation and How It Can Be Used to Forecast

24 Nov 2015, 5:01 pm

sun halo

This picture of a sun halo was taken in Owensboro, Kentucky. Halos can form around the sun when light interacts with ice crystals in the sky. The ice crystals usually occur when a thin layer of wispy, high clouds known as cirrus clouds are present.

The ice crystals with a hexagonal, plate shape, bend the sun’s light as it passes through. The refraction disperses the white light into individual colors that can be subtly seen in the arc.

Sun halos can sometimes be a good forecasting tool. Cirrus clouds that produce ice crystals needed to form a halo usually move in ahead of a front. Sun or moon halos can be an indication of rain, which is where the saying “Ring around the moon means rain soon” comes from. Rain is forecasted on Thursday in Kentucky, which may be why this halo is visible.

For WeatherNation: Meteorologist Monica Cryan
(Headline Image: Tim Crabtree, @OWB_WXSpotter)

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