Sun halo over Zimbabwe

Scientists call them 22-degree halos, because their radius is approximately 22 degrees from the sun. This one was seen over Africa, whose mythology about sun halos matches North American skylore.

Sun halo – October 2018 – by Ryan Vanderlinde of Zambezi Boy Photography in Zimbabwe.

Footprints Zimbabwe posted this photo to EarthSky Facebook this week and wrote:

Ryan Vanderlinde (Zambezi Boy Photography) captured the recent sun halo seen across many places in Zimbabwe. African mythology claims it is a sign of great change, while other older beliefs say it is a promise of a good rainy season.

It’s easy to see how – in Africa, where these halos are seen less frequently than at latitudes closer to either pole – they’d be associated with change. And it’s also possible to understand the part of the African belief related to rain. In North American skylore, we say the same thing, this way:

Ring around the moon (or sun) means rain soon.

In fact, sun or moon halos may mean rain soon. High cirrus clouds containing ice crystals are what cause these halos, and this sort of cloud often comes before a storm.

Read more: What makes a halo around the sun or moon?

Bottom line: A 22-degree halo seen over Zimbabwe in October 2018.

The 2019 lunar calendars are here! Order yours before they’re gone. Makes a great gift.

Deborah Byrd

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