22° Halo over Atlanta

posted by giacomo




I was on my way to Tucker’s place to do some shooting, and at a traffic light I leaned down to scratch my leg and luckily was wearing sunglasses because I noticed out of the corner of my eye something out of place in the sky. I looked up and noticed a circular rainbow around the sun! I was completely surprised and only looked away when the person behind me honked because the light had changed. I called Tucker up and told him to go look outside at the sun, but when I got there he told me he didn’t see anything. I took off my sunglasses and saw that the haze and glare typical of Atlanta summer made it impossible to see without some filtering. Once he saw what I talking about, he quickly agreed this was worthy of some HDR. We went to Freedom Park and messed around for a bit, and he let me use his camera to set up this shot.

I looked it up the next day and the phenomenon is called a 22° halo and it is caused by light diffracting through hexagonal ice crystals in the upper atmosphere (probably in those cirrus clouds that are faintly visible) which causes the rainbow and the position 22° away from the sun.

An optical phenomenon known as a 22° halo

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