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Rings Around the Sun

Our last full day in Samui and the morning has been full of kids swimming in the pool, the Barbie Mermaid movie for the girls and the strange cosmic effect of solar rings.

This is taken on a DSLR which is why it is up straight away (but I did take it on film too) and it shows both how much smut there is on the lens and the filter as well as the affect of ice crystals in the thin layer of Cirrus clouds.

One of the most common ones is called a 22° halo. They get this name because the ring is located 22 degrees away from the Sun itself. The ring around the Sun is about 44 times larger than the Sun itself.

If you could look at the crystals under the microscope, you would see that they’re hexagonal in shape, and act as prisms for the Sun’s light. As light passes through the two sides of the prism, it’s deviated by exactly 22°. Since the ice crystals are jumbled up randomly in the sky, most of the light is deflected away. But from every position you’re always able to see the deflected light from some of the crystals in the sky, and this is why you see the bright ring around the Sun.

Categories: Digital Cameras
Posted by simon on July 19, 2011

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