The circular rainbow around the sun was visible to residents across Bengaluru due to clear skies on May 24 and many took to social media to share pictures of the sun.

Photograph of the rainbow coloured halo seen around the sun above BengaluruTwitter/rajatnavarathna
news Weather Monday, May 24, 2021 - 13:37

“Bengaluru, please look up, there is a halo around the sun.” Bengaluru’s skies have thrown up plenty of surprises in the past week and Monday, May 24, was no less. Residents marvelled as a striking circular rainbow that was spotted around the sun. Several people in Bengaluru took to social media to share pictures of the ‘halo’ or the colours of the rainbow. The halo was seen at about 11 am on Monday and lasted for over one hour.

The rainbow was visible to most residents in the city as Bengaluru had a pretty clear sky on Monday.  “A rainbow-like halo has encircled the sun in a perfect circle right now. Call it magic, call it true,” said actor Samyukta Honrad, sharing pictures of the halo. One user even wondered if ‘aliens’ were arriving.

But no, this is a common atmospheric phenomenon. The halo, as it is called, is an optical phenomenon that occurs when light interacts with ice crystals in the atmosphere. It is also called a kaleidoscope effect and it is due to the tilt of the ice crystals in the air and the altitude of the sun. The phenomenon is also reported when clouds — specifically of the Cirrus category — surround the sun, causing light to reflect into the seven colours. This halo is also called the ‘22 degrees halo,’ named so because the circular rainbow has a radius of approximately 22 degrees around the sun.

The city’s residents have noticed this phenomenon several times in the last few years. Some Bengaluru residents had taken to social media last year, in the month of May, to share pictures of the colourful halo around the sun. A similar halo was also reported last year in Rameswaram in Tamil Nadu, and pictures of the sun had gone viral on social media.

This comes a week after Bengaluru residents were treated to surreal sky views, partly due to the knock-on effect of the cyclone in the Arabian sea.

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