Catch that odd ring around the sun earlier?
Many people spotted the circular halo, but the phenomenon is by no means limited to a specific area and is often seen around the world.
So what is it?
Also known as a 22 degree halo or a sun halo, the ring is caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds within the Earth’s atmosphere. The crystals bend direct sunlight, projecting it elsewhere into the sky, and at a certain angle — you guessed it, 22 degrees — a halo can be seen around the sun.
These halos are quite the sight to see, but unlike an eclipse, they can’t be predicted. Conditions in the atmosphere have to be just right, with moisture or ice crystals creating a “rainbow” effect around the Sun. Sometimes the halos surround the Sun completely, other times, they appear as arcs around the Sun creating what is known as sundogs. Basically, sunlight is reflecting off moisture in the atmosphere.
While the beautiful sight may complement the springtime weather, the sun halo is not limited to a certain season and can happen anytime, anywhere, depending on the viewer’s vantage point and the sun’s position. However, the occasional sighting — similar to a rainbow — is more common in the fall, winter and spring “when the northern jet stream descends southward, drawing down Arctic air masses,” NASA notes.