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No. 70: Jul-Aug 1990

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Elliptical Halos

Original drawing of the halo of Hissink, observed at Leiden
Original drawing of the halo of Hissink, observed at Leiden. January 26, 1977.
In the catalog Rare Halos, Mirages, Anomalous Rainbows, we list nine cases of elliptical halos. Such observations are anomalous becaouse the only wellexplained elliptical halo is formed when the lower and upper tangential arcs of a 22 halo join together. Possibly because of the absence of appropriate theory, R. White, in 1981, suggested that the observations recorded in GEH2 were only the consequences of observational error or inaccuracy in representation of the phenomenon. (This assertion is well-known to all anomalists!) Recently, however, several elliptical halos have graced the skies of Finland. We provide below a summary of these observations, as prepared by J. Hakuma ki and M. Pekkola. First, though, we express appreciation to Hakumaki and Pekkola for a paragraph headlined SOURCEBOOK PROJECT ANOMALIES, where in effect they vindicate the approach of the Project.

We now quote from the summary of their article.

"In December 1987 two Finnish amateur astronomers observed and photographed a peculiar vertically elliptical ring surrounding the moon. A literature study carried out soon after this first observation brought to light ten reported historical cases of this type of rare halo phenomenon. It was found out that the existence of these elliptical halos has been uncertain to date due to a lack of photographic evidence. One indication of this is that none of the major modern works on halos mentions such phenomena. During 1988 three more elliptical halos were seen by the Finnish halo observing network. Observations and photographs taken of these phenomena seem to indicate that at least two types of elliptical halo exist. The smaller one was first reported by US astronomer Frank Schlesinger in 1908 and its vertical axis has in all four possible cases been about 7. No name has been suggested for this halo. The larger one seems to have a vertical axis of about 10 and it has been called the 'halo of Hissink' by Dutch halo observers. Outside the Netherlands this rare halo has received little attention."

(Hakumaki, J., and Pekkola, M.; "Rare Vertically Elliptical Halos," Weather, 44: 466, 1989.)

Reference. Other types of noncircular halos may be found in GEH2 in our catalog: Rare Halos, Mirages. For more information on this book, visit: here.

From Science Frontiers #70, JUL-AUG 1990. 1990-2000 William R. Corliss