Halo Adorns Sky Above South Iceland
This picture of a halo around the sun was taken near Eystri-Rangá river Monday night by Guðjón Þórir Sigfússon.
Meteorologist Elín Björk Jónasdóttir tells Morgunblaðið that this is a 22° halo - the most common type to form around the sun. Haloes are created by a thin veil of cirrus or cirrostratus clouds at high altitude, made of tiny ice crystals in the atmosphere that refract and reflect light.
Sometimes, albeit not in this picture, bright spots, too, appear on either side of the sun. These are called sundogs, parhelia, or mock suns.
“Such phenomena usually appear together, or only one at a time,” Elín explains. They mainly appear along with a halo when the sun is very low in the sky. You can clearly see them here.
Very rarely, such bright spots appear on either side of the moon. Then they’re called paraselenae or moondogs. One such example from Iceland can be seen here.
In Norse and Greek mythology, such spots are described as wolves, chasing the sun and the moon in an attempt to devour them. Thankfully, no such threat appears imminent at the moment.