I’ve seen an occasional sun halo here in east-central Florida, and I’ve also seen sun dogs. But I’ve never seen a halo of the complexity I witnessed the afternoon of February 10 in Rockledge. My best shot of the phenomenon was my first, with my phone. I got my “real” camera a little late to capture it when it was at its best. But it was still pretty amazing and lingered for a while.
There are names for all of the arcs you see in the images. The light effects are created when sunlight interacts with ice crystals in the atmosphere. And some of the best ones you’ll see are in cold environments where “diamond dust” ice particles hover lower in the air as well. That’s why I was so surprised to see these pretty decent effects in Florida on a warm day.
The round circle is a 22-degree halo. The bright lights in the ring on either side are sun dogs, or parhelia. Wikipedia helped me identify the other arcs. The upside-down “rainbow” at the top is a circumzenithal arc, seen resting atop a supralateral arc (this is visible as a faint rainbow-type arc in the wider shots). There also seems to be an upper tangent arc kissing the top of the 22-degree halo.
Now I’ll be anxious to see if I can catch this phenomenon again … before I can travel to a colder clime to get a really elaborate demonstration.