Science vs superstition as rare sun halo spotted over Bohol

sun halo
A photograph of the rare phenomenon shared on Facebook by town resident Rey Tubo.

Residents of a Bohol town were treated to a rare celestial phenomenon when the sun appeared surrounded by a halo of light.

The rare sight was reported in Ubay town today (Wednesday, May 16).


Local government worker Rey Tubo spotted the sight, and posted a number of photographs on his Facebook account. He wrote: “That’s what God is. Wonders man.”

Engineer Riche Cutamora Ibale also uploaded a photo and captioned it with a succinct scientific explanation: “Called as 22 degree halo or a sun halo, the ring is caused by sunlight passing through ice crystals in cirrus clouds within the earth’s atmosphere.”

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) has also issued a scientific explanation. It said: “Halos around the sun or moon happen when high, thin cirrus clouds are drifting high above your head. Tiny ice crystals in Earth’s atmosphere cause the halos. They do this by refracting and reflecting the light.”


However, other residents feared the phenomenon could be a bad omen. Seventy-year-old Norfa Veseres said: “We should pray to God because the sun halo is a sign of bad things to come.” 

Last month we reported on another strange solar phenomenon, when a group of Catholic devotees claimed to see the sun “dancing” in the sky.

The worshippers were celebrating the feast of Divine Mercy at a shrine in Marilog, Davao City, when they noticed the sun’s strange behaviour.

An amateur video of the scene showed devotees wailing and waving their hands as the sun appeared to pulse brighter and dimmer. Some eyewitnesses also claimed that it moved around the sky.

Speaking to GMA News, one witness, Dondon Alo, said: “The devotees were weeping in excitement!”

The phenomenon was also witnessed by Father Gracioso Charcos, who claimed that he saw a vision of the Virgin Mary and Jesus Christ in the light.

However, Ben Rosales of Pagasa said atmospheric ice crystals could have caused this phenomenon too.

The following video comes from a sighting of the phenomenon in Europe, and shows just how spectacular sun halos can be: 

sun halo

Ludvig Lundin sends this report of a spectacular Sun halo display, with a 22° halo, parhelic circle, sundogs and a tangent arc as well as 44° parhelia (sundogs) and 46° halo, in Vemdalen, Sweden today, Dec 1 – thank you. Video by @vemdalen

Posted by Severe Weather Europe on Friday, December 1, 2017