Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Buzz over Klang Valley's halo around the sun

SHAH ALAM:  KLANG Valley folk were in for a visual treat with the sudden  appearance of a sun halo yesterday afternoon.

The two-hour phenomenon of the rainbow-like ring circling the sun created a lot of buzz in the online community.

Viewers took photos and posted them on Facebook and Twitter.

A teacher from Klang, Maureen Joseph, 53, said she quickly came out and took pictures of the halo after being told by a colleague.

She said the strange, eerie vision caused many among her family members and friends to jokingly speculate that it was a sign of the end of the world.

"It looked so dark and mysterious, yet beautiful. It was my first experience, but I found that I could not stare at the sun for too long as it was too glaring."

Housewife Monaliza Baharudin, 42, from Port Klang, said she saw her neighbours coming out from their homes and looking up at the sky, and decided to check it out.

"I was awed by this beautiful sight. It was like God's gift to mankind. It was my first time seeing it and I am glad I got the chance."

Science officer at the National Space Agency (Angkasa) Mohd Zamri Shah Mastur said yesterday's phenomenon was the "22-degree sun halo", which was an optical phenomenon.

Despite all the buzz and speculation over the rarity of the phenomenon, Zamri said that like other halos, this type of halo appeared when the sky was covered with thin cirrus clouds containing ice crystals.
He said the phenomenon was visible about 100 days every year.

Angkasa's Langkawi National Observatory assistant science officer Karzaman Ahmad said they often captured the appearance of these natural phenomena.

"There are many kinds of halos and they are caused by light from the sun or moon shining through ice crystals present in the wispy layers of clouds six to 18km above ground."

He said the cirrostratus cloud layer was so thin that the sun or moon could be viewed clearly through it.
"Never look at a halo directly or for a long period of time to protect your eyes."

He said those taking pictures using single-lens reflex cameras must also take precautions.

*Taken from NST Online

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