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why is there a rainbow ring around the sun

Catch that odd earlier this week? Many people in the New York tri-state area, 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 or a sun halo, the ring is caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds within the Earth's atmosphere, the University of Illinois' Weather World Project 2010 explains. (See
for diagrams that illustrate how it works. ) 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. Ever seen a - a ring of light sometimes visible around the?

Here's a cool 1 from @ Б US Dept of Interior (@Interior) 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 "when the northern jet stream descends southward, drawing down Arctic air masses," NASA notes. In case you missed it, check out the gallery below (in fullscreen) to see some of the best photos and videos. Thousands of Chileans were surprised Monday morning to see the Sun surrounded by a "circular rainbow," a phenomenon that - experts say - is caused by sunlight reflected off ice crystals in the clouds.

The unusual sight surprised and amazed many Chileans, who immediately came outdoors to take photographs that they posted on the social networks. And assorted jokes began circulating referencing Sunday's presidential runoff election, which conservative candidate and former President Sebastian Piцera won, attributing the curious phenomenon to him. Luis Chavarria, the head of the Astronomy program at Conicyt, a Chilean government agency responsible for coordinating, promoting and aiding scientific research, said that the rainbow ring "is produced by the existence of ice particles in very high clouds, where the temperature is very low.

You have ice crystals, which - when reflecting sunlight - create this rainbow. " In remarks to the Emol Web site, Chavarria said that the rainbow appeared round, or ring-like, because "it's up high," in contrast to traditional rainbows, which form due to rainfall near the ground and are seen "horizontally" by people. Chilean Weather Service official Luis Salazar said that the phenomenon is a "solar halo" caused by the diffraction of sunlight by the ice particles, which act like prisms in a thin band of cloud, thereby creating an optical illusion.

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