Optical Phenomena of the Sky

 The National Audubon Society writes "that an Optical Phenomena are the visual results

 of a wide variety of physical conditions in the atmosphere.  

These phenomena occur through the refection, refraction, and diffraction of light. "

Back to home page

HALOS       Halos come in full circles but more often come in complex curves.

 Arc 2.jpg (18632 bytes)


Arc 2.jpg (18632 bytes)



While up at Sullivan Lake, Washington I happened upon this rare phenomenon combination of a Parry Arc and a Circumzenithal arc, with the sun was low in the horizon.

The Parry arc, lower of the two, is a combination of an upper concave Parry Arc and a circumscribed halo below it forming a football shape.


Arc 4.jpg (43608 bytes)

Circumzenithal Arc




Circumzenithal arcs form when the sun is less than about 32' above the horizon.



  IMG_2009.jpg (45749 bytes) IMG_2016.jpg (23588 bytes)  
IMG_2245.jpg (43418 bytes)I didn't realize till later that this was a halo.  IMG_2244.jpg (45619 bytes)

The beginning of a halo that over a period of time turned into the next picture.

IMG_2261.jpg (51750 bytes)

Some halos are soft red on the inside and pale blue on the outside like this one. Captured out my back door using the tree to block the sun.

IMG_8877.jpg (249642 bytes) IMG_8872.jpg (125117 bytes) IMG_8875.jpg (279730 bytes) IMG_0975.JPG (74411 bytes)

IMG_7174.jpg (44493 bytes)

Halo with an Upper tangent arc 

and  two sundogs.

The upper and lower Tangent arcs are caused by refraction of light above and below the sun though ice - crystals. 


IMG_7175.jpg (59209 bytes)




Sunlight refracting 

at at 22' angle thought 

Hexagonal ice-crystals


This one was caught while on Mt. Spokane 5200 ft. 

Note the smoke from burning made it impossible to see the valley below.

IMG_8509 Mt. Spokane view, Sundog.jpg (39033 bytes) IMG_8505 Mt. Spokane, Sundog.jpg (35203 bytes)

Close up.

IMG_5445.jpg (88514 bytes)

Sundog with a horizontal white tail

IMG_5439.jpg (38882 bytes)

IMG_2594.jpg (37756 bytes)

IMG_2597.jpg (25943 bytes)

Sundog and Arc 1.jpg (34791 bytes)

Commonly seen in Cirrus clouds.

IMG_0230.jpg (41485 bytes) IMG_0236.jpg (39614 bytes) IMG_0240.jpg (39840 bytes) IMG_0477.jpg (32377 bytes) IMG_0484.jpg (35473 bytes)
IMG_0489.jpg (42418 bytes) IMG_0492.jpg (48511 bytes)
   IMG_9023 Pillar.jpg (66003 bytes)

Pillars are a shaft of light that comes up from the sun. The sun is usually low on the horizon. 

IMG_7879.jpg (108134 bytes)

Crepuscular Rays

IMG_2962.jpg (53301 bytes) IMG_5020.jpg (102106 bytes)

Pend Oreille Lake, Idaho

  IMG_4481.jpg (89676 bytes)  IMG_4467.jpg (184950 bytes)

The Hobbit Walk  

IMG_4480.jpg (178336 bytes) IMG_4457.jpg (99034 bytes)
The sunlight is scattered by molecules and particles in the atmosphere. 

Good thing for us.




IMG_4077.jpg (86740 bytes) IMG_2949 Suzanne Ruby.jpg (62633 bytes) IMG_7412.jpg (66709 bytes)
IMG_2995.jpg (30941 bytes) IMG_0772.jpg (75557 bytes) IMG_0210.jpg (132875 bytes) IMG_9850.jpg (81499 bytes)
IMG_2988.jpg (32709 bytes) IMG_5838.jpg (78940 bytes) IMG_0242.jpg (91346 bytes)

IMG 8119 Iridenscence from Moon.jpg (37290 bytes)

IMG_8040 Moon Dog 2.jpg (26081 bytes) IMG_7967.jpg (68586 bytes) IMG_7995.jpg (70596 bytes) IMG_8091 Moon and rainbow.jpg (37761 bytes) IMG_8076 Moon Dog 1.jpg (40847 bytes)


IMG_4322.jpg (191604 bytes)

Oregon waterfalls

IMG_4397.jpg (85522 bytes)

IMG_4334.jpg (141805 bytes)

IMG_4333.jpg (105610 bytes)

Spiders Rainbow

IMG 10 Suzanne Ruby.jpg (56467 bytes)


IMG_9631.jpg (105842 bytes)

Kalispell Lake Rainbow



IMG_0051.jpg (104991 bytes) IMG_0096.jpg (157575 bytes)
IMG_9710.JPG (70951 bytes) IMG_9716.JPG (84903 bytes) IMG 9 Suzanne Ruby.jpg (54119 bytes)

 Night time Rainbows at a Monster Truck Rally     

   Rain Rainbows.jpg (77642 bytes)      

TEMP0314.jpg (56968 bytes)

 It was raining at the time.

TEMP0315.jpg (55706 bytes)

IMG_0696.jpg (99071 bytes) IMG_9305.jpg (226506 bytes)
IMG_0382.jpg (67431 bytes) IMG_0384.jpg (51023 bytes) The color bands are due to the light being diffracted by water droplets of fairly even size. IMG_0391.jpg (49987 bytes) IMG_6950.jpg (29704 bytes) IMG_7435.jpg (59589 bytes)
IMG_7886.jpg (46716 bytes) IMG_7912.jpg (38863 bytes)

IMG_7939.jpg (44863 bytes)


IMG_7055.jpg (55425 bytes) IMG_0967.jpg (87697 bytes) IMG_0968.jpg (62611 bytes)


IMG_0671.jpg (86324 bytes) IMG_0666.jpg (104633 bytes) IMG_0687.jpg (104774 bytes) IMG_2858.jpg (120664 bytes) IMG_2871.jpg (129081 bytes)
IMG_0678.jpg (91089 bytes) IMG_0696.jpg (90859 bytes) IMG_0736.jpg (83972 bytes) IMG_2857.jpg (126004 bytes) IMG_2870.jpg (117910 bytes)
IMG_2868.jpg (116842 bytes)
IMG_0982.jpg (54577 bytes) IMG_0447.jpg (86511 bytes) IMG_0981.jpg (64009 bytes) IMG_2873.jpg (119333 bytes)

100 feet high, lasting 1 - 20 minutes.

IMG_4494.jpg (28725 bytes)

IMG_4707.jpg (32369 bytes) IMG_4709.jpg (31916 bytes)

This one occurred over the Ocean in the middle of a beautiful sunset.

Everyone had stopped what they were doing and had come outside.

IMG_5196.jpg (40407 bytes) IMG_5202.jpg (31090 bytes)
They represent very strong wind shear between the bases and tops of the clouds.