Joe Joyce WBZ-TV Meteorologist
Nathan Homan, Falmouth
Numerous phone calls came into the weather office today with reports of a rainbow around the Sun
. Some people were surprised by the optical phenomenon
saying it was the first time they had ever seen anything like it.
While the full rainbow around the Sun is a rare sight in the daily grind of life it does happen several times in the course of a year.
We are used to seeing rainbows when it is raining and the sun is out at the same time. But today…it was a Sun Rainbow…better known as a Solar Halo
. Halos are seen as a white ring..around the Sun or Moon
. Sometimes a rainbow is seen..which happens mainly with the sun.
So to see a Sun or Moon Halo…you need high, thin cirrus clouds
which are usually at altitudes above 20,000 feet. We certainly had that today. These clouds
are usually a sign of thickening clouds and a chance for rain…which has been the case today as well , thanks to an ocean storm just off the coast. These high altitude
cirrus clouds are made of mostly ice crystals which refract the sunlight much like a prism will showing the colors of a rainbow.
- Tony Peters, Boston
Tony Peters took this photo over Boston today. He wonders what is that small dot? He says he is pretty sure it was not a plane or satellite. He claims it took off at an incredible speed which he estimates had to be over 4,000 mph! Interesting.
- Linda Quinn, Lynnfield
The event which occurred today was seen by many. It was a perfect circle halo around the sun. Sometimes the rainbow isn’t in the form of a halo, but just colors that just streak across the clouds. These are known as Sun Dogs.
Your typical rainbow is seen as a partial circle or arc. Rainbows are round but the ground prevents you from seeing the full rainbow unless you are high above it…or below it like today.