Sun Spots- Not the Brown Ugly Ones
Chelsea was hanging out on Lake Superior last Thursday and captured some great photos of the sun. I’m so happy she brings her camera along everywhere and shares her photos with all of us.
Have you ever looked up and noticed that there’s a big ring around the Sun? These rings are caused by ice crystals within thin cirrus clouds, and there several different kinds of sun rings you can see depending on the weather conditions.
One of the most common ones is called a 22Â° halo. They get this name because the ring is located 22 degrees away from the Sun itself. Both the Sun and the Moon block a 1/2 degree region of the sky at a time, so the ring around the Sun is about 44 times larger than the Sun itself.
Why do you get a ring at exactly 22Â°? The ring is formed because of the ice crystals suspended in the cirrus
When you’re looking for halos, or rings around the Sun, make sure you always shield both eyes from the Sun. Even looking at the Sun for an instant can cause permanent eye damage.
Here’s an article from Universe Today that includes instructions for looking for Sun halos.
Here’s a great article from Atmosphere Optics that helps to explain the process.
We have recorded an episode of Astronomy Cast just about the Sun called The Sun, Spots and All.