May 7th, 2010
11:37 AM ET

Sun's halo - 'gift from God,' 'end of days' or just pretty?

iReporter David Cua captured this photo in Cebu City, Philippines.

This morning CNN iReport woke up to a flurry of photos of what look like a halo around the sun in Cebu, Philippines. iReporter David Cua, who shared the photo here, said he and his friends were trying to figure out what on earth it was they were seeing.

“Some thought it was a gift from God, others, a warning about the end of days,” he said. “I thought it was just something pretty.”

Actually, halos are an optical phenomenon that occur around the sun or the moon while there are very high cirrus clouds in the atmosphere. They can even be seen in very cold weather around street lamps or other artificial sources of light. Halos are caused by light reflected and refracted by ice crystals. The colors occur because as the light is refracted, the wavelengths are split into the red, orange, blue, that you see in the halo. It is more common to see halos at night around the moon, so this halo that we see in the Philippines is somewhat rare.

You might be wondering why there would be ice crystals in the air above the Philippines during the Northern Hemisphere summer. Even in the warmest places on the globe, the very high levels of the atmosphere are very cold. In the tropics this time of year temperatures at the top of the troposphere are around -95 degrees Fahrenheit (-70 degrees Celsius).

Halos are somewhat different than the even more rare sun dogs, seen when the sun is very low in the sky, almost on the horizon. Sun dogs are characterized by the halo that we see here in these iReports, as well as bright patches of light to the right and the left of the sun along the halo.

If you spot a halo (or, for that matter, another interesting weather phenomenon), we'd love to see it on iReport.

soundoff (556 Responses)
  1. Cecil Nixxon

    The Heaven's Gate folks also saw a sign from the heavens. And they weren't the first religious Castrati. Some people will do anything (ANYTHING!) to turn celestial events into a divine message.

    It's just natural phenomenon. And I'm keeping my boys intact, thank you very much!

    November 4, 2010 at 8:47 am | Report abuse |
  2. Ryan

    We have been getting those in Hawaii for a very long time. They are recorded for hundreds of years. Saw one in August. It does not happen that often but it is nothing new.

    November 5, 2010 at 8:04 am | Report abuse |
  3. lori

    I to believe that it is a gift from god. I seen someone made a comment about how mankind needs to grow up. To me that is funny, we wake up every day with air in are lungs, wit are loving family and friends and we have this beautiful earth that we trash every day. Yet people think that they have an exasperation for every thing that occurs lmao that's really a joke. I love the lord and I know that with out him we would be nothing. I tell u what's truly funny that I was just googling something and just so happen to see this page. If u don't think its a gift from god or you do believe it does not matter, what matters is that the lord loves us that much to keep believing in us and to show us something so beautiful. Ill be praying 4 every 1.

    November 15, 2010 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
  4. news.blogs.cnn.com

    Suns halo gift from god end of days or just pretty.. OMG! :)

    April 21, 2011 at 8:22 am | Report abuse |
  5. Peter

    August 9th 2011. 1st time I ever see a sun's halo. Very pretty site 2 see.

    August 9, 2011 at 2:04 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Sharon

    Sun's Halo over Palau right now 12:30pm, March 26, 2012!! BEAUTIFUL!! This is the first time I've seen one!

    March 25, 2012 at 11:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • rianna

      there was a sun halo just two days ago in trinidad. April 14th around 12 noon. have a look at it on youtube. It was the first time I've ever seen such a phonomenon.

      April 16, 2012 at 8:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Jason H

    It's a result of chemtrail heavy spraying in attemp to keep the earth cooler. Look up geoengineering and cloud seeding. Real eye opener.

    July 21, 2013 at 6:30 pm | Report abuse |
  8. personal training Long Island

    Pretty to see, I wouldn’t look more into this.

    January 30, 2014 at 3:09 pm | Report abuse |
  9. smith, J

    While our scientist are being paid to stay quiet and dazzle people with their experiments, the reality is this http://www.geoengineeringwatch.org

    April 18, 2014 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
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