Social & Community News
20 November 2020

Rustenburg – Social media was flooded with interesting images of the sun flaunting a halo on Sunday 15 November.

This might seem like a strange phenomenon but there is a scientific explanation for this. A chandelier light fitting can hold us entranced as the many pieces of glass having several flat sides refract (bend) or reflect (throwback) the light creating rainbows and halos.

Similarly, ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere cause optical phenomena produced by sunlight or moonlight that appear to us on Earth as coloured or white halos, arcs or spots in the sky. Usually, the ice crystals responsible for halos are suspended in cirrus or cirrostratus clouds about 5 to 10km above the ground. The crystals behave like prisms and mirrors, refracting and reflecting light.

Halos may precede rain as the cirrostratus clouds that cause them can signify an approaching frontal system. A rainbow differs from a halo as it involves water droplets rather than ice crystals.

A reader shared this photo of the sun that was taken at around 11:00 on Sunday 15 November.


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