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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Rare Solar Halo Lights Up Islamorada Sky

Rare Solar Halo Lights Up Islamorada Sky

April 5th, 2012
image-solar halo larry e gabor cropped
Solar Halo in Islamorada 
Photo by Larry E. Gabor
On Sunday afternoon in Islamorada, I was treated to a rare surprise. Looking up at the steel blue sky, I saw a rainbow-like halo encircling the sun. Flowing around the orb in a perfect circle, the diffused ring made it look like the sky was on fire. Feeling a bit like a character from an alien invasion movie, I shielded my eyes and gasped, “What is it?” Then, I ran inside to get my camera. Called a solar halo, the phenomenon happens when sun refracts off tiny ice crystals, like prisms, suspended in the atmosphere. Larry Kahn, the editor of the local newspaper, Keynoter, told me that the last time this happened in the Keys was in 2008. The paper ran a photo on the front page.
I can add this "sun rainbow" to the list of stunning sky-scapes that I’ve seen in the Florida Keys. This long string of islands that straddles the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean is a front-row seat to Mother Nature’s stage. I’ve witnessed double-rainbows, as dark clouds drift across the horizon. At night, I’ve watched large orange and blood-red moons paint the ocean surface beside glowing stars and planets you'd never see in the city. But the one thing missing from my list is the elusive green flash. Part of mariner’s lore, the bright green glow can appear for mere seconds just above the disk of the setting sun. I’m sure it will be worth the wait.

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