What an auspicious day! We have seen “Sundogs” around the sun before. The halo or rainbow circle is formed when sunlight refracts through high atmospheric Cirrus clouds, made of tiny ice crystals, much like a prism. It’s usually a sign that rain is on the way, as high clouds usually precedes a storm front. These halos also appear in moonlight. Depending on the size of the crystals, the colour of the halo differs and they can also form around the moon.
“It has no implications for weather at all, I don’t know about the folklore, but for us, nothing,” Arno Dyason, weather forecaster at the SA Weather Service told News24.He said that cirrus clouds drifting in from Botswana had contributed to the phenomenon and that it was quite uncommon in Gauteng. ”It’s very uncommon here in Gauteng. I’ve spoken to some people on the phone and they say it’s the first time they’ve seen it in a life time. It’s more common in the Cape,” he said.
“Sun halos are related to other phenomenon like sun pillars. If you see the sun setting and the ice falls, you see a pillar of light,” Dr Enrico Olivier, astronomer at the South African Astronomical Observatory told News24.
“With a sun dog, you see three suns when its setting,” he added.
Extracts from Media24 News