A ring around the sun yesterday sparked some interest, and even a little concern, among residents in the sunny South. A ring, or halo-like rainbow could be seen perfectly circling the sun, prompting some Floridians to get on social media to express their wonderment. In at least one case, a woman called 911 to report the celestial phenomena.
According to the Orlando Sentinel on Wednesday, the ring, dubbed a “22 degree halo,” occurred because of “sunlight passing through ice crystals in the atmosphere.” Of course, even though odd sightings in the sky have a scientific explanation, not all are convinced.
Photos and comments poured in on Twitter. A sampling:
Weird ring around the sun????? pic.twitter.com/8sZ1NwFufr
chiara (@chiaramaddaloni) April 17, 2014
This is cool and freaky but why is there a ring around the sun science people?? pic.twitter.com/oFNEHsjNtu
Minajxo (@FrenkiMinaj) April 16, 2014
So there's this ring around the sun and it kinda looks like a rainbow but scarier…is the world gonna blow up? pic.twitter.com/x5Eu6YotYn
Princess Heavenridge (@EFK_Irish) April 16, 2014
red moon. mini flood. ring around the sun. what's next on the agenda?
Phillip the Prophet (@philbaety) April 16, 2014
Scientists and astronomers say that a “sun halo” is actually not that uncommon.
“Ice crystals bend direct sunlight, projecting it elsewhere into the sky, and at a certain angle – specifically 22 degrees – a halo can be seen around the sun,” FOX 13 chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto explained.
The ring was first noticed in the early afternoon, but only lasted a few hours and was gone by 2 p.m. Scientists say that this is because the weather condition had changed and the ice crystals were no longer present to bend the light and create the halo. The phenomenon is similar to rainbows, which can also only be observed for a short time and only when certain weather conditions are present.
But calling up 911? You never know what is going to freak people out. Evidently, ice crystals at 22 degrees are enough to make one gal call up the police, although we’re not sure if call center dispatchers have the contact numbers for on-call astronauts who can immediately blast off to investigate.
ABC Action News out of Tampa Bay carried the link and audio to the 911 caller who reported the “large circle in the sky” that has “never been in the United States of America.”
Perhaps she overdosed on Journey that morning… “Wheel in the sky keeps on turning…”