Nice halo display in the sky on 4th of May 2015

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

  • 22° halo
  • Parhelia
  • 22° tangent arcs
  • Parhelic circle
  • 120° parhelia
  • Wegener antisolar arc

Date: 04.05.2015
Time: 14:20-16:00
Observing place: Pori-Helsinki, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

On monday 4th of May 2015 I was travelling from Pori to Helsinki by bus. While sitting in the bus, I was able to observe a pretty nice halo display in the sky. During the journey, I spotted bright 22° tangent arcs with 22° halo and parhelia and bright segments of parhelic circle several times. With the parhelic circle, I also observed 120° parhelia and a segment of Wegener antisolar arc! This display was dominated by singly-oriented, well-developed columnal crystals. Besides this, there were also some plate crystals present in this display. It was certainly one of the best halo displays that I have observed so far during this spring!

Upper 22° tangent arc and 22° halo @ 11:25 UT.
Upper 22° tangent arc and 22° halo @ 11:25 UT.
Parhelic circle and Wegener antisolar arc @11:29 UT
Parhelic circle and Wegener antisolar arc @11:29 UT
Parhelic circle and 120° parhelion @ 12:07 UT
Parhelic circle and 120° parhelion @ 12:07 UT
22° halo, 22° tangent arcs, parhelion and parhelic circle @ 12:37 UT
22° halo, 22° tangent arcs, parhelion and parhelic circle @ 12:37 UT
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9° halo observed in the sky of Turku, Finland

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

  • 22° halo
  • 9° halo

Date: 19.04.2015
Time: 13:25
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Camera: Olympus µ 1030 SW

So far this April 2015 hasn’t been very good in terms of halo phenomena. So far I have observed only common halo forms, except 19th of April, when I observed a 9° halo with full, bright and well developed 22° halo. Otherwise there is not much to blog about right now.

22° halo with 9° halo.
22° halo with 9° halo.
22° halo with 9° halo, unsharp masked.
22° halo with 9° halo, unsharp masked.

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.

Light pillars in fantasy world

In the night between 23rd and 24th of January 2015, the scenary in Kuusamo, Finland was just like in a fantasy world! There was lots of snow and trees wee covered in thick layer of frost! The sky was cloudy, and some ice crystals were raining from the stratus -clouds hanging at low level.

The snow crystals were of dendritic hexagonic type, which means that those crystals were not very good halo making crystals. Only halo form that they can produce, is a sun pillar, or in this case, a street light pillar. And there were pillars! Lots of pillars in every direction! And the pillars were very tall, tallest of them were reaching zenith, and it seemed as if they were converging near the zenith because of the perspective -phenomena!The pillars are formed, when light from the street lights (or Sun) is reflecting from the upper- and lower surfaces of the ice crystals to form  a pillar of light above and sometimes also below the source of light.

Temperature was about -17 °C. It was absolutely stunning! And I was the only witness of this wonderful natural display, I couldn’t see any other people in the town that night!

The ice crystals on that night came in all possible froms and shapes, and many of them were resembling much the snowflakes made familiar by the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.

Collection of all kinds of ice crystals or snowflakes from the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.
Collection of all kinds of ice crystals or snowflakes from the classic work of Wilson Bentley in 1902.

Photos showing the magnificent display of street light pillars in quite exotic circumstances in the night 23./24.1.2015 in Kuusamo, Finland:

Bright halo display 7th of May 2014

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

  • 22° halo
  • Parhelia
  • 22° tangent arcs (circumscribed halo)
  • 46° halo
  • Infralateral arc
  • Parhelic circle
  • Wegener antisolar arc

Date: 7.5.2014
Time: 11:10-12:35
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Canon EOS 1100D, Samyang 8mm fish-eye

A bright all-sky halo display was observed in Turku, Finland in 7th of May 2014. This display was dominated by halo forms originating from columnar crystals. In this display, 22° arcs were bright and well developed, and they formed a circumscribed halo around the Sun. A full parheluic circle was circling the whole sky. Also both infralateral arcs were visible. This halo display had also an almost full Wegener antisolar arc, and this was the second time for me to observe this rare halo form! This was a really fantastic celestial display to observe!

Upper Sunvex Parry Arc 19.4.2014

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

  • 22° halo
  • Parhelia
  • Sun pillar
  • Upper 22° tangent arc
  • Circumzenithal arc
  • Supralateral arc
  • Upper Sunvex Parry arc

Date: 19.4.2014
Time: 20:05-20:30
Observing place: Ulvila, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Olympus μ 1030 sw

During Holy saturday of 2014 (19th of April) only an ordinary 22° halo was visible in the sky of Ulvila. But later in the evening, I was able to see something spectacular! I observed a bright and well -developed upper 22° tangent arc, and I thought that could there be a possibility, that a Parry arc would appear inside the curved tangent arc? After some gazing, another arc really started to develop inside the bowl of tangent arc! And there it was, my first ever upper sunvex Parry arc! And it was very well developed and bright, and it appeared in high clouds! These guys are really rare sights in high clouds! What a wonderful way to end an otherwise quite booring halo day! Thank you Mother nature!

Pyramide halo display 16.5.2013

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

  • 22° halo
  • Upper tangent arc
  • Lower tangent arc
  • Upper 23° parhelia
  • 18° parhelia

Date: 16.5.2013
Time: 13:35-16:40
Observing place: Turku, Finland
Observing method: Photography
Technical information about photographing equipment: Olympus μ 1030 sw

On 16th of May 2013 I noticed a diffuse -looking upper tangent arc in the sky of Turku. I observed that halo for several hours, and then I thought that perhaps it is not an ordinary upper tangent but an upper 23° parhelia. I’m pretty convinced, that there was also an ordinary upper tangent arc, because I observed also a lower tangent arc in the sky. For a short while, I observed also a weak 22° halo. In the photos, that I took at 16:00, there was also a short arc-like spot in upright position. I interpret, that it could have been a 18° parhelia.

The upper 23° parhelia -interpretation gets support from other observations from Finland on that day. On 16th of May 2013, many observers reported pyramide halo sightings from many localities in southern Finland.