What forms the ring around the sun? - WCBD-TV: News, Weather, and Sports for Charleston, SC

What forms the ring around the sun?

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TAMPA, FL (WFLA) - Many News Channel 8 viewers are asking, what is the ring that has formed around the sun this afternoon?

A number of people called the WFLA newsroom Wednesday to report what they were seeing.

The Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office says some people also called the 9-1-1 emergency line.

At Foster Academy Elementary School in Tampa, teacher Laura Frankliln used the opportunity to educate the students.

"They were amazed and they were just, 'What is that? What is that?'" said Franklin.

According to Storm Team 8 Chief Meteorologist Steve Jerve, "The halo is caused when high cirrus clouds made of tiny ice crystal pass high in the atmosphere. The light passes through those ice crystals and 'bends' the light much like a rainbow, when water passes through water droplets. It creates that halo effect."

"The high, thin clouds made of ice crystals refract the light from the sun like a prism," describes Meteorologist Leigh Spann.

Meteorologist Julie Phillips adds, "These thin clouds can be over 20,000 feet in the sky. Since these clouds are so high they are made up completely of ice crystals giving them their wispy nature. The halo is created from the ice crystals splitting and reflecting the light from the sun."

Steve Jerve says it can also occur with the moon at night.

Send your photos of the "sun halo" to online@wfla.com .

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