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Man Photographs “Ice Halo” Around the Sun in Swiss Alps

Smartphone Takes Viral Photo of Light Halos in the Swiss Alps

Michael Schneider was skiing downhill in the Swiss Alps when he turned around and witnessed an amazing scene forming behind him. He pulled out his iPhone 11 just in time to capture what looked like a crystal ball encasing a golden diamond.

 

The rare phenomena, called a 22°arc, occurs when light interacts with freshly formed ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere. The 22°arc is one of the most common ice halos, The Daily Mail reports. In some cases only part of the halo is visible, while in others it forms a complete circle. The inside rim is sometimes red and the outer edge is usually white.

 

“The crystals can be high up in cirrus clouds, or closer to the ground as diamond dust or ice fog,” Geophysicist Mika McKinnon told Fox News. “Just like raindrops scatter light into rainbows, the crystals of ice can reflect and refract light, acting as mirrors or prisms depending on the shape of the crystal and the incident angle of the light.”

 

“I quickly realized that a halo was developing in the back-light to the Sun, initially very inconspicuous until this light phenomenon increased incredibly,” Schneider told SWNS. “The sun had been struggling through the last snow clouds for about an hour,” he said on his blog.

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