Weekly BHS Snapshot: Optical Phenomena

Laima Liulevicius, Editor

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A suggestion of a Sun Halo above BHS.


Photo captured Above University Avenue featuring a circumscribed sun halo.


Faint Sun Halos have been sighted above Blaine high school recently. Earlier this school year, in wintertime, phenomena such as Sun Dogs and a Sun Pillar were seen in the sky. They create an unusual sight: Sun Dogs, as seen in the picture below, appear to create three suns and a dark, hole-like opening in the sky.

These optical phenomena are formed by light bending through tiny icy crystals called “diamond dust” in a similar way that  rainbows are formed from light bending through water droplets. What is visually seen is determined by the geometric shape of the ice crystals and what direction they face. For example, Sun Halos are created by hexagonal crystals, and light pillars require a horizontal orientation of the crystals

These phenomena have been used to predict future weather conditions. If a halo appears around a sun, rain and storms can be expected in the next 24 hours.


Sun Dogs in December.


A Sun Pillar at sunrise at Blaine.


Sun Halos, Sun Pillars, Sun Dogs, and other optical phenomena occur commonly: Halos an estimated 100 days a year, but only for short periods of time when the conditions match up. These phenomena seem rare because we just sometimes forget to turn our heads up to the sky.


If you would like to contribute your Blaine photography to BHS Blueprint, please attend one of our meetings in room 148 after school at 2:30 on Wednesdays.