Rarely-seen ice crystal halo spotted over Stamford

An ice cyrstal halo spotted over Stamford by Alex Sismey on October 27.

An ice cyrstal halo spotted over Stamford by Alex Sismey on October 27.

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An unusual atmospheric phenomenon has been spotted by an eagle-eyed reader in the skies over Stamford.

Alex Sismey sent in this picture of what looked to be a rainbow on a cloud, taken from her garden in Cromarty Road on Tuesday morning.

We sent the pictures to Les Cowley, an expert on atmospheric optics, to see what he thought.

He said: “It is an ice crystal halo. Specifically, a circumzenithal arc.

“Plate-shaped crystals in high and cold cirrus cloud form it.

“The suns rays are refracted though two crystal faces and are split into the colours.

“Circumzenithal arcs are not particularly rare, you might see one once a month if you look directly upwards when the sun is low. But so few of us do that and so they are rarely seen.”

You can find out more about ice crystal halos and other atmospheric optics at Les’ website, www.atoptics.co.uk.