India's Silicon Valley is awed by the rainbow-coloured halo in its skies — but take pictures at your own risk

India's Silicon Valley is awed by the rainbow-coloured halo in its skies — but take pictures at your own risk
Halo in the sky visible above the skies of BengaluruTwitter/@rajeshmuthyalu

  • In India's Silicon Valley, Bengaluru, residents are awed by the rainbow-coloured halo surrounding the Sun on May 24.
  • The optical phenomenon is common in the presence of cirrus clouds with ice crystals, which reflect the light like a prism.
  • However, when taking pictures of the Sun with your phone, you may want to think twice.
People in India’s technology capital may be confined to their homes, but anyone with a window or a balcony had front row seats to one of the most magical phenomena of nature on Monday, May 24.

A rainbow-coloured halo took over the skies above the capital city of Karnataka, encircling the Sun. And the pictures have gone viral on social media.
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This isn’t the first time that a rainbow-coloured halo has graced the skies of Bengaluru. Bengaluru residents were seen sharing pictures of the halo on social media in May last year as well. The halo was also spotted in Rameswaram, located in the neighbouring state of Tamil Nadu, last year.

India's Silicon Valley is awed by the rainbow-coloured halo in its skies — but take pictures at your own risk
Halo seen over Coimbatore in Tamil Nadu in 2020BCCL


It’s not magic, it’s science


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A halo around the Sun may look like magic, but the phenomenon is just nature’s way of saying that things are getting trippy.

Akin to how a kaleidoscope reflects and scatters light, the Sun’s glare in this case is interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere. The Sun’s luminescence is reflected and refracted by the ice crystals and gets split into colours because of dispersion.

Simply put, the ice crystals behave like prisms and mirrors from the science experiments in school. Instead of a lab, these ice crystals are normally within cirrus clouds around five to 10 kilometres above the planet's surface. And, cirrus clouds are a common occurance during the monsoon.

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Take pictures of the Sun at your own risk


For those looking to take their own photos, please be advised that it’s not a good idea to look directly into the Sun. Even though Earth’s star is 150 million kilometres away, it can still do a lot of damage — not just to you, but to your phone’s camera as well.

The Sun’s insane brightness is capable of damaging the sensors in your camera. This can alter the way these sensors refract and filter light for future photos, according to the experts at Pocket Photography. And, if there is repeated exposure, it can cause the sensor to break entirely.

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The level of impact varies from phone to phone, with iPhone's crystal lenses being more resilient against heating up as compared to glass lenses. The level of damage will also vary depending on whether you're taking a simple photo or a time-lapse with the latter requiring longer exposure.

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