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. Astonished

    Yes, there are.

    And most of them have been pier-reviewed prior to publishing as well.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:33 pm | Report abuse |
  2. jerry walz

    If i were to recieve a gift from God from the sky i would want it to rain carmely carmely carmely corn!

    May 7, 2010 at 10:37 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Chris

    Hey, ease up religion haters. Even into the 1960's the accepted theory of planetary evolution stated that the older planets were further away from the sun and the newer ones closer. Thus Mars was an older type of Earth, Venus was in it's Pre-Cambrian period of swamps and giant insects, etc. Scientifically accepted. Yes, the 1960's. The decade that spawned a generation of intellectual depravity. And these people from the Phillippines are dumb?

    May 7, 2010 at 10:39 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Patriot1

    Its called chemtrails, Google it!

    May 7, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse |
  5. contacted

    Planet X is inbound! Inbound from the sun. The strong glare is not letting it be seen. Soon everyone will see it. Pole shift soon! 90% of people in the world will die in this transformation to the 4th density. Go ahead laugh and make jokes now. Remember and laugh when this terrible day comes! Chemtrails keep spraying around the sun to keep people dumb but soon their spraying will be useless and people will want explanaitons and governments will close the doors and not be able to control the populace. This is when all hell breaks lose. Tilt to the left and 3 days of darkness then the shift and bye bye!
    Human extinction! Mad max times for some!

    May 7, 2010 at 10:43 pm | Report abuse |
  6. slingshot227

    I don't take a position on this. I'm not a church goer and I'm not an atheist. But I am getting so damned sick and tired of people who wear their lack of belief in God as some kind of badge of honer. Honestly, did any of you retards really conduct experiments in your free time to come to the conclusion that high cirrus clouds and light reflected off ice crystals are the culprit? Duh, yea, I'm smart...I knew all along about the ice crystals and cirrus clouds. STFU, you did not. Some scientists also say that carbon dioxide is a poison and that we need to pay them taxes so they can fix it.

    You think you're civilized because you repeat whatever some "scientist" says? Yes, you are advanced and everyone else is stupid. Really, I don't see anyone else on this board adding to the scientific analysis, just smart a– comments. You guys are right, civilization is doomed. Retards.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. G Matt

    Wow, I never thought so many people would be ignorant of the aspect of higher level of understanding.

    Just describing a natural event as a passive causal process is like describing someone responding to this article as just a shell with an artifact of a physiochemical process without intention or free will.

    If someone sees a 'beauty' or 'higher meaning' in the phenomena, that doesn't discount the physical process behind it. It just means he/she had a higher consciousness to see something beyond a simple physical process. After all, higher level understanding is harder to grasp than simple physics.

    May 7, 2010 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  8. Dian

    Mother natures poetry.

    May 7, 2010 at 11:01 pm | Report abuse |
  9. jerry walz

    earlier I wrote an insightful comment concerning carmel corn which was totaly overlooked! Now my feelings are hurt and I'm contimplation the meaning of everything! Chemtrails? shemtrails! and now planet x... Damn that B-52 new wave music anyway......

    May 7, 2010 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Chris

    Why the heck are we even talking about this on a Friday night. What kind of lives are these. We're not men, we're children. I'm going to go watch some Seinfeld.

    May 7, 2010 at 11:04 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Chris

    I saw the carmel corn comment. I prefer Skittles. To each his own.

    May 7, 2010 at 11:06 pm | Report abuse |
  12. jerry walz

    Yea! Skittles! I've changed my mind.

    Good night to the spiritual and spiritless.
    respect for others is always a good quality

    May 7, 2010 at 11:13 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Farmer Bob

    So. . .God put the sun in the sky, the ice crystals in the atmosphere, the eyeballs in your face and the simian half brain in your head with which to mock and misunderstand it all, and there you have it: a gift from God.

    May 7, 2010 at 11:20 pm | Report abuse |
  14. leseeta

    This halo is a result of chemtrail residue we are looking through. What are chemtrails? They are NOT contrails. Check it out.

    May 7, 2010 at 11:45 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Unafy

    May be the advanced intelligent aliens out there has created halo by using our sun and studying our planet!

    May 8, 2010 at 12:01 am | Report abuse |
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37