Corona Around the Sun – the Atmospheric Kind Caused by Clouds

This afternoon, I photographed the sun surrounded by colorful rings. I first noticed them because I had my sunglasses on, so they were easier to see. After blocking the sun with my hand, I could see them without my sunglasses, so they were not color rings due to irregularities in the sunglasses.
Here’s a photo of the rings, using my head to block the sun and holding the camera at arm’s length.

Color rings, a 'corona' around the sun

By the time I found a more suitable solar blocking object, they were gone. Carol and I found that we could see the color rings better if we blocked the sun with a fist and looked at the rings in the reflection from the sunglasses. This dimmed the glare of the sky enough to see the rings without being overwhelmed by the brightness of the sky.

According Minnaret, in Light and Color in the Outdoors, corona are caused by small droplets in thin cirrus clouds, especially when the droplet size is very uniform. Most often these are seen around the moon, since the lesser brightness of the moon makes then easier to see. But the solar corona are more colorful.

Canon XS handheld f/14, 1/4000 second, ISO-400, 18mm (wide zoom), manual focus.


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