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Plane Contrail and Sun Halo: Rare picture by Alexandros Maragos in NASA gallery

Alexandros Maragos, talented photographer and director from Patras, captured with his camera a rare optical phenomenon: an Airplane Contrail and a Sun Halo.

NASA praised the picture of the rare phenomenon as the Astronomy Picture of the Day.

The short description by NASA reads:

What’s happened to the sky? Several common features of the daytime sky are interacting in uncommon ways. First, well behind the silhouetted hills, is the typically bright Sun. In front of the Sun are thin clouds, possibly the home to a layer of hexagonal ice crystals that together are creating the 22 degree halo of light surrounding the Sun.

The unusual bent line that crosses the image is a contrail — a type of cloud created by a passing airplane.

Much of the contrail must actually be further away than the thin cloud because it casts a shadow onto the cloud, giving an unusual three-dimensional quality to the featured image. T

The featured image was taken in late January in the city of Patras in Peloponnese, West Greece.

Also known as a 22 degree halo or a sun halo is the ring is caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds within the Earth’s atmosphere.

Halos are in fact optical phenomena produced by light interacting with ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere.

There is also a Moon Halo. Old farmers and sailors used to say when there is a ring around the moon it means: rain soon.

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  1. The first photo looks like a cracked cup with a bright ceiling light reflected in it. The second one is a bit more convincing, although the landscape could have been photoshopped in (LOL).

  2. Sorry. My comment was not a serious one:-)