What’s that ring around the sun?

I have only ever seen a ring around the sun while I have been on Isla Mujeres. That may because I am on the beach and there is nothing to block the view of the sun. It did rain early the next morning.

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I did a Google search and found several articles explaining these rings.
“These rings are caused by ice crystals within thin cirrus clouds, and there several different kinds of sun rings you can see depending on the weather conditions.

One of the most common ones is called a 22° halo. They get this name because the ring is located 22 degrees away from the Sun itself. Both the Sun and the Moon block a 1/2 degree region of the sky at a time, so the ring around the Sun is about 44 times larger than the Sun itself.

Why do you get a ring at exactly 22°? The ring is formed because of the ice crystals suspended in the cirrus clouds. If you could look at the crystals under the microscope, you would see that they’re hexagonal in shape, and act as prisms for the Sun’s light. As light passes through the two sides of the prism, it’s deviated by exactly 22°. Since the ice crystals are jumbled up randomly in the sky, most of the light is deflected away. But from every position you’re always able to see the deflected light from some of the crystals in the sky. And this is why you see the bright ring around the Sun.”

17 Responses

  1. Welcome back?

    I have seen that ring-around-the-sun situation in Cancun as well – I have the pictures on my camera phone. I prefer to think of it as something more mystical than the scientific explanation above, but that’s just me trying to be deep. It IS pretty cool, though, isn’t it?

    • Yes I am back. I extended my trip by 5 days and got home Tuesday night.
      The ring is cool. I too would like to think that it is something more mystical but couldn’t find anything to substantiate that theory.

  2. Now that took some research to find all this out. I can’t say I’ve ever seen a ring around the sun myself.

  3. Bennie,
    The hard part was taking the photo because you can’t look directly at the sun. I just kept pointing my camera up and shooting photos until I got a pretty good one.

  4. i’m in north west washington and I have a ring around the sun right now. I went on line to see what they are called. i have seen them before but didn’t really know what they were all about now I know. thanks.

  5. We just got back from Chincoteague VA and saw these halos
    3 days is a row! And yes, we were at the beach too!

  6. Thanks for your info! There was a halo around the sun today in Costa Rica, photographed from just outside the capitol city of San Jose in Escazu. Far away from the beach. So it is not just a beach thing. What a beautiful phenomenon!

  7. 21 October 2009 ring around the sun,I just witness a awesome sight in the morning hours today.

  8. I saw a halo around the sun today (January 26,2010) in Bernalillo, New Mexico….. I was so freaked!!! out at first but then i searched and found out what it was……… omg iam so relived i figured out what it was LOL:)

  9. I saw this halo around the sun on Sunday 7/25/2010 while sitting at the pool at Moon Palace Resort in Cancun. It was the most spectacular sight my eyes have seen in a very long time! It was just beautiful!

  10. Just saw the ring around the sun in Johannesburg, South Africa.. And it is beautiful !! 🙂

  11. I seen it today 6/4/12 at scool lms and im, so interested in it so I relized its the HALO $$ Thanks

  12. I seen it today 6/4/12 at scool lms and im, so interested in it so I relized its the HALO $$ Thanks

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