Solar Halo Over Perranporth

I was lucky enough to be able to capture a photograph of a solar halo over Perranporth, on Thursday the 5th of May, 2022.

Also known as a 22 degree halo, this kind of solar halo is a rare atmospheric optical phenomenon caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

Walking through the dunes I noticed that the light seemed strange. I was wearing my polarising sunglasses and so was able to look up directly at the sun. A solar halo was clearly visible all around the sun.

I lay on my back and tried to take a photograph with my phone. As you can imagine, trying to shoot straight into the sun and capture the whole halo took me quite a few attempts!

solar halo perranporth cornwall

Solar Halo by Jamie Turnbull

I was in a panic as I really wasn't prepared to be taking pictures. I had no idea how long the halo was going to last, and so I launched a drone and tried to line up some correctly exposed shots in a vertical panorama.

Drones have a limited ability to shoot upwards at the moment, and so I knew that I would never be able to capture the whole halo using just the drone. This was the best picture that I could manage.

solar halo over perranporth

Solar Halo over Perranporth, Cornwall, by Jamie Turnbull

Now I had a photo of the halo from below, and one showing just the bottom of it (like an upside-down rainbow) over Perranporth - but the thought of joining the above two photos together didn't occur to me (a task certainly beyond my level of skill in photoshop).

I sent the images to Paul Jacobs who was able to join the photograph from my phone together with the drone shots to create this wonderful image, which shows exactly how the halo appeared over the town.

solar halo over perranporth town

Solar Halo Panorama by Jamie Turnbull & Paul Jacobs


As you can see, the halo basically looks like a rainbow going all the way around the sun!

I've spent the last few years hoping to take a decent photo of a rainbow, but on this occasion ended up with something far rarer!

The above photo was used by The Times Online for the News in Pictures article, on Saturday the 7th of May 2022.

Judging by Google, solar halos only appear in the UK about once or twice a year ~ and so are quite rare. Have you ever seen one?

By Jamie Turnbull

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