Be careful what you wish for! ~ Atmospheric optics experts Claudia & Wolfang Hinz witnessed one of the finest halo displays ever seen outside of Antarctica on 30th January '14. They were in the Fichtelbergbahn area of the Ore Mountains in the east of Germany. The rarest halos were present. Life for a halo observer must surely be an anticlimax after this. All images ©Claudia & Wolfgang Hinz, shown with permission
Below: The near zenith centred view shows some of the crown jewels - even greater halo rarities.
About - Submit Optics Picture of the Day Galleries Previous Next Today Subscribe to Features on RSS Feed
This is the sky region of complex ray paths through near optically perfect singly oriented and Parry oriented column crystals.

At right is an enhancement better to show the Hastings and Wegener arcs but for the other halos the original untouched image is better.

The helic arc from internal and external reflections off Parry columns loops through the sun and then out to near the zenith. Tangent to it is the rare antisolar arc (again from Parry columns). It is related to the helic arc but with an additional internal reflection from a column end face. However, some of its ray paths are very complicated.

For more details of all these halos see pages following this one.

These images (just a sample of the total) are unedited and we can expect more wonders as they edit and analyse them.

That at top looks sunward through the diamond dust. At right I have made a colour subtraction enhancement - not that one is needed.

Note all four(!) of the exceeding rare Parry supralateral and infralateral (Tape) arcs. At most these are usually only a brightening on the other arcs, here we see their full forms.

Helic arcs curve from the sun. There is a trace of a right-hand upper Lowitz arc and a Moilanen arc.

Beside all that the Parry, infralateral, supernatural arcs and 46° halo are almost commonplace.

See here for more details of the halos.


Images with halos labelled and compiled by Michael Grossman

See also Claudia's AKM posting.

A rare Parry infralateral (Tape) arc blazes.
Claudia and Wolfgang in the sky with diamonds.
Right: A close-up of the 120° parhelion on the parhelic circle.

To its right (arrowed) is the elusive blue spot where colour dependent total internal reflection in the crystals ceases. Blue lasts longest.
Above: This image alone deserves an entire essay.

The lower arc around the horizon is the parhelic circle studded with 120° parhelia. Tricker arcs cross it at the anthelic point opposite the sun with diffuse arcs spilling below. We see the downward loop of the (Parry crystal) antisolar arc and tangent to it at top the helic arc.

The Hastings and Wegener arcs curve downwards to the anthelic point. Crossing them is a faint subhelic arc.

Compare this image with one at the South Pole where the halos are labelled and described.
Ray paths for the Wegener arc (singly oriented columns) and the rarer Hastings arc (Parry columns)