This is a classic solar halo, what scientists call a 22-degree halo. Halos like this one can be seen around the world, throughout the year, and around either the sun or moon. These halos are caused by both refraction, or splitting of light, and also by reflection, or glints of light from ice crystals high in Earth’s atmosphere. The crystals have to be oriented and positioned just so with respect to your eye, in order for the halo to appear.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and founded EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.