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Saturday, January 15, 2011


Sorry to Dissapoint the Nibiru Folks, It's Just a Sun Halo

ImageThis image is doing the rounds of a news aggregator site at the moment.The text breathlessly exclaims:
Is this "halo" magnetic, does it interfere with biological processes on Earth? Could it be the source of a magnetic disruption which destroyed or altered the navigational abilities of the now dead birds, bats, and fish?

Sorry guys, but this is a plain old 22° halo. It occurs when sunlight is refracted through hexagonal ice crystal high in the atmosphere. It is one of the commonest sky phenomena there is. Here is a few images I've made of halos around the Moon.

It's nice and all the speculate, but couldn't have someone asked a meteorologist before getting all Stargate on us.

The Nibiru crowd are getting excited about the bright blob near the sun, claiming it's a winged disk.

Well, one thing it's not is Venus, on January 4, when this image was taken in Indonesia, Venus was 47° away from the Sun, well outside the 22° radius of the halo (as was Mercury, but usually Venus and occasionally Jupiter are bright enough to to photograph in daylight).

Most likely (in no particular order) are, a parhelion from a parhelic circle crossing a dimmer, internal halo that doesn't show up on the photo (see here for a complex halo, and other images here and here), a random flare off high atmospheric ice crystals or internal camera lens flare.

But a planet it is not.

And why the author of the piece thought that a halo in Indonesia was responsible for bird kills in the US is beyond me. I did like the idea that sonic booms from the "intense seasonal meteors" could be responsible for bird kills, the Quadrantids are quite modest (nice picture here), and we don't see more die off's during the Geminids for example.

There's a really simple explanation for the bird die off's, it's just normal seasonal die-off's, blown out of proportion by media attention.

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