What Was That Ring Around the Sun? A 22º Sun Halo in the Southwest Florida Sky
While fueling up my car in Port Charlotte yesterday afternoon, I saw two women about 20 years my senior aiming their iPhones toward the sky. When I looked up, all I could see were contrails from three airplanes and couldn’t figure out the big deal. Pulling away from the gas station, I saw others looking up so I pulled over and saw something amazingly cool.
A rainbow around the sun. Or was it a sun bow? (or sunbow?) Was it a sign from the higher power above?
Although I was wearing sunglasses, I avoided looking directly at the sun because I didn’t want to burn my eyes out. (Things I remember from junior high and watching a solar eclipse.)
Turns out I was looking at a 22º sun halo (or 22º solar halo) and according to WZVN-TV (Southwest Florida) Chief Meteorologist John Patrick, the halo is “formed by ice crystals in high, thin cirrus clouds.” The “rainbow” is caused by the sun’s rays reflecting against the ice crystals. (Source: “What the Halo?!?” NBC2.com, June 4, 2012)
Apparently, the solar halo was visible throughout South Florida Sunday and yesterday. Did you see it?