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No. 94: Jul-Aug 1994

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An offset solar halo of 28

Anomalists should not perfunctorily dismiss unusual halo phenomena as trivial and/or boring. The laws of atmospheric optics have no room for the phenomenon described below. It is just as anomalous as ball lightning, although perhaps not as exciting!

Common and nonanomalous halo
The 22 halo on the left is common and nonanomalous. However, optical theory has no room for the offset 28 halo on the right.
June 22, 1993. North Cornwall, UK.

"A 22 halo [the well-explained type] was very prominent, with the sector DCE being exceptionally bright and the colours quite strong. On the right-hand side of this, a larger but fainter halo could easily be seen, having a diameter of about 28 (see figure). It was white in colour. The sector CB was the brightest, sector BF not so bright but easily seen, but the sector AF could be seen only with difficulty. The halo was not seen to penetrate the 22 halo at either points A and C and so it could not be stated positively that the halo would have passed through the Sun, although it looked as though this would have been the case. The centre of the 28 halo had an altitude approximately the same as that of the Sun. The phenomenon lasted for about 20 minutes, although the 22 halo lasted for at least another hour."

(Miles, Howard; "An Unusual Solar Halo," British Astronomical Association, Journal, vol. 103, 1993.)

Reference. Chapter GEH in the catalog Rare Halos, Mirages describes a large variety of anomalous halos. Ordering information here.

From Science Frontiers #94, JUL-AUG 1994. 1994-2000 William R. Corliss

Science Frontiers Sourcebook Project Reviewed in:


  • "A sourcebook of unexplained phenomena is therefore a valuable addition to a collection of scientific literature. William R. Corliss has provided this in the past with his source books of scientific anomalies in several subjects, and now he has provided it for astronomy. He has done an excellent job of collecting and editing a large amount of material, taken in part from scientific journals and in part from scientific reporting in the popular or semi-scientific press." -- "The Mysterious Universe: A Handbook of Astronomical Anomalies", reviwed by Thomas Gold, Cornell University, in Icarus, vol.41, 1980

  • "An interesting, systematic presentation of unusual weather [..] This book is recommended for a general audience" --"Corliss, William R., Tornados, Dark Days, Anomalous Precipitation, and Related Weather Phenomena, Sourcebook Project, 1983.", revieweed in Choice, September 1983
  • "..the science is necessarily somewhat speculative, but Corliss's symthesis is based on reputable sources." -- "Corliss, William R. (Compiler). Lightning, Auroras, Nocturnal Lights, and Related Luminous Phenomena" reviwed by Joseph M. Moran, Univ. of Wisconsin in Science Books and Films, Sep/Oct 1983

  • "Before opening the book, I set certain standards that a volume which treads into dangerous grounds grounds like this must meet. The author scrupulously met, or even exceeded those standards. Each phenomenon is exhaustively documented, with references to scientific journals [..] and extensive quotations" -- "Book Review: The moon and planets: a catalog of astronomical anomalies", The Sourcebook Project, 1985., Corliss, W. R., Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society of Canada, Vol. 81, no. 1 (1987), p. 24., 02/1987