Sonora, CA — If you looked up at the sun this afternoon, be sure to use proper eye protection, and enjoy an uncommon rainbow around the sun. The rainbow around the sun is also known as a 22 degree halo, or sun halo. It can occur around the moon as well and is not extremely rare but depends on the specific conditions combining at the right angle.
A similar sun halo was seen in Seattle, Washington on June 15th, today’s phenomenon was also seen in Sacramento.
The rainbow is caused by light refracting off tiny ice crystals contained in high barely visible cirrostratus clouds. For conditions to be right the ice crystals must be between the sun and the observer when the sun or moon is very high in the sky.