What was it?
... A circumscribed halo, probably an infralateral arc, a parhelic circle from horizontal column crystal and possibly also a 22° halo.
| The topmost image was taken at 12:55 EDT with the sun was 68° high.
Later on - and coincidentally - Michael Lee took images of the display from within a mile of Matthew Drews' position. These images became available after the above analysis.
How the sky changes! At left is the scene at ~14:15 - 14:30 with the sun now lower at 62-59°.
The circumscribed halo has become more oval and inside it is the 22° halo. Perhaps there is a trace of cloud iridescence near the sun.
The lower image clearly shows a parhelic circle.
At these lower sun altitudes any infralateral or circumhorizon arcs would be fading fast as the rays forming them would be increasingly internally reflected within the crystals.
When the sun is high the 22° halo and circumscribed halos are not easy to tell apart. Take plenty of images and be sure that the camera clock is accurate. Keep the image EXIF data.
Look for a hint of two halos at 3 and 9 o'clock from the sun. Look for brightening at 12 and 6 o'clock.
The circumscribed halo tends to have more saturated colours and tapers off more sharply away from the sun.
|Grotesque enhancement - levels, unsharp mask, embossing - just manages to show a high-sun parhelic circle.|
|A clear parhelic circle.|
|The halo is not circular. At the sun elevation of 68° the circumscribed halo is easily mistaken for a circular halo. The higher the sun, the more a circumscribed halo approaches a circle.|
| The lower arc is strongly curved and therefore not a circumhorizon arc. However, be wary of a camera image because of possible distortion. Measure the arc's distance above the horizon visually.
|A colour separation technique clearly highlights the circumscribed halo and inner 22° halo. The parhelic circle disappears because it has no colour.