The U.S. National Weather Service in Amarillo, Texas posted this photo on its Facebook page this weekend. Joshua Thomas in Red River, New Mexico captured these magnificent arcs in the sky on the morning of January 9, 2015. Look below for a labeled version of the same photo.
Ice halos are commonly seen by those who look at the skies; we receive several photos of ice halos from somewhere in the world every week, especially in wintertime. Often, we’ll receive many such photos, across a particular region, sometimes for several days in a row. Most ice halos appear as a circle or ring around the sun or moon. Sometimes, if conditions are just right, you do see these wonderful, rare events when the whole sky is filled with halo arcs.
Ice halos are caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere, which both refract and reflect sunlight or moonlight.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and 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.