September - rain You are here: Home Photo gallery Atmospheric optics Ice crystal halos 22o parhelia


The 22o left and right parhelia (or sun dogs / mock suns) of the sun are very common phenomena. Like the 22o halo, they are caused by refraction of light through hexagonal ice crystals, here in the shape of plates which float horizontally. Sometimes, they show very pure spectral colors, because as the crystals are oriented, there are very few skew rays through the ice crystal, interfering with the properly refracted rays, as in poorly or randomly oriented crystals. The latter produce much elongated parhelia and the 22o halo which show less color saturation.

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