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Yesterday morning, Texan Joshua Thomas took this picture in Red River, NM and shared it with us. He captured a truly special display of ice halo phenomena including rare suncave and sunvex Parry arcs, helic arcs, and intense supralateral and infralateral arcs. See also the diagramed version, which the outstanding folks at US National Weather Service La Crosse Wisconsin did for the photo. To learn more about ice halos and other atmospheric optical phenomena, see the Atmospheric Optics page: www.atoptics.co.uk. Thanks again to Joshua Thomas and NWS La Crosse for taking and documenting this halo display!
Halos form when light from the sun or moon is refracted by ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds (like cirrostratus clouds). A 22 degree halo is a ring of light 22 degrees from the sun (or moon) and is the most common type of halo observed and is formed by hexagonal ice crystals with diameters less than 20.5 micrometers.
Light undergoes two refractions as it passes through an ice crystal and the amount of bending that occurs depends upon the ice crystal's diameter.
A 22 degree halo develops when light enters one side of a columnar ice crystal and exits through another side. The light is refracted when it enters the ice crystal and once again when it leaves the ice crystal.