Lowitz arcs appeared in the sky of Kuusamo, Finland

Observed phenomena: Halo phenomena
Light source: Sun
Origin: High clouds (cirrostratus)
Observed halo forms:

  • 22° halo
  • Parhelia
  • Upper 22° tangent arc
  • Circumzenithal arc
  • Supralateral arc
  • Parhelic circle
  • Upper suncave Parry arc
  • Lowitz arcs (middle- and lower Lowitz arcs)

Date: 27.03.2015
Time: 13:45-14:15
Observing place: Ruka, Kuusamo, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

During 27th of March 2015 I was guiding a group of international students in Kuusamo, Finland, when a magnificent and bright halo display appeared in the sky! The students got a truly unique opportunity to witness a really special natural light display!

In this halo display, several halo forms were present: 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc, parhelia, circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc, parhelic circle, upper suncave Parry arc and two kinds of Lowitz arcs: middle- and lower Lowitz arc. This halo display had at least three aspects that made this display so special: 1) the halo forms in this display were bright and well-developed, 2) there was one rare and one extremely rare halo form in this display and 3), there were roughly 50 observers observing and photographing this halo display! This was first time for me to observe Lowitz arcs in the sky! I had already seen the upper suncave Parry arc twice before this.

Upper suncave Parry arc is just one of four known kinds of Parry arcs and it is the most common one of them. Parry arc is named after Sir William Edward Parry (1790–1855) who was trying to navigate through the Northwest passage. During the expedition, he and his crew got stuck in ice, and while being stuck, he observed a halo display with new kind of halo form – a halo form now known as upper suncave Parry arc. Upper suncave Parry arc is a rare halo, it is usually seen only once in a year on average. Lowitz arcs are named after Johann Tobias Lowitz (or Lovits) (1757 – 1804), a German-born Russian apothecary and experimental chemist who first observed this halo phenomena in 1790 in St. Petersburg, Russia. The Lowitz arcs are so rare, that they can be seen only 1-2 times in a decade!

Photos from the halo display of March 27th 2015:

Picture 1. Right sundog with middle- and lower Lowitz arcs.
Picture 1. Right sundog with middle- and lower Lowitz arcs.
Picture 2. Same photo than in picture 1. but enhanced with B-R technique.
Picture 2. Same photo than in picture 1. but enhanced with B-R technique.
Picture 3. Halo forms present in pictures 1 and 2 explained.
Picture 3. Halo forms present in pictures 1 and 2 explained.
Picture 4. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc and upper suncave Parry arc.
Picture 4. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc and upper suncave Parry arc.
P3270401_edit_explained
Picture 5. Previous picture explained.
Picture 6. The photo of picture 4 with B-R enhancement.
Picture 6. The photo of picture 4 with B-R enhancement.
Picture 7. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc, upper suncave Parry arc, circumzenithal arc and supralateral arc.
Picture 7. 22° halo, upper 22° tangent arc, upper suncave Parry arc, circumzenithal arc and supralateral arc.
Picture 8. Circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc, upper suncave Parry arc and upper 22° tangent arc.
Picture 8. Circumzenithal arc, supralateral arc, upper suncave Parry arc and upper 22° tangent arc.
Picture 9. Circumzenithal arc with supralateral arc.
Picture 9. Circumzenithal arc with supralateral arc.
Picture 10. Halo observing in Kuusamo.
Picture 10. Halo observing in Kuusamo.
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