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Rare and Mesmerizing Ice Crystal Halos Spotted Above Antarctica

2 months ago
Featured image for the article "Rare and Mesmerizing Ice Crystal Halos Spotted Above Antarctica"

Dr. Peter Neff, a University of Minnesota professor, recently witnessed and documented an incredible atmospheric optics display while conducting research in Antarctica.

The dazzling show of ice halos lighting up the sky included ice crystal phenomena like sun dogs, halos, tangent arcs, and more. Neff captured the natural spectacle on video, calling it "the best Antarctic sun halos" he's ever seen.

A Rare Sight

Neff is the Director of Field Research and Data for COLDEX, an organization exploring extremely old ice cores in Antarctica to extract ancient climate records.

While monitoring weather conditions crucial to that research on January 18th, the optimal environment for ice halos emerged. Neff seized the opportunity to document the rare, stunning sight.

The footage showcases a wide variety of different halo formations caused by sunlight interacting with ice crystals suspended near the surface or in high-altitude clouds. Ice halos glow in rainbow colors circling the sun or moon as the light passes through the icy prisms.

Prominent ice halos visible in Neff's video include a 22-degree ice halo encircling the sun, additional halo arcs at 46 degrees, along with brilliant flashes of light called sun dogs.

Other dazzling phenomena like parhelic circles, upper and lower tangent arcs, and infralateral arcs complete the incredibly rare atmospheric exhibit.


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