AFRICAN ICE HALO: You never know what you might see when you go on safari. “Earlier this week I was riding through Choose National Park in Botswana,” says George Kourounis. “While the rest of the people in the vehicle were scanning the bushes, looking for lions and leopards, I was looking up in the sky at this complex solar halo.”
“It was almost like a giant eye in the sky looking down at us,” says Kourounis. “I’ve never seen anything like it.”
Halos like this are caused ice crystals in high cirrus clouds. Shaped like pencils, long and thin with 6 sides, the crystals bend and refract sunlight into a variety of shapes. Shown above is a 22-degree circular halo, a circumscribed halo, and a fraction of a full parhelic circle.
Some people think ice halos are rare in Africa–but they are not. The air 10 km high is freezing over Africa just like everywhere else. Safari-goers should definitely look up, from time to time.