Strange halo around poll bound Kolkata sun

A 22 degree halo(sun halo) seen in Kolkata. Photo: Narada news

A 22 degree halo(sun halo) seen in the Sky of Kolkata. Photo: Saurav- Narada news

Kolkata: A strange halo had been seen around the sun in Kolkata while people are busy casting their vote. The celestial phenomenon was seen at around 1:00 pm and lasted for 30 minutes.

Experts say that it is a phenomenon called 22 degree halo which is  an optical phenomenon, forming a circle with a radius of approximately 22° around the Sun, or occasionally the Moon (also called a moon ring or winter halo). It forms as the sun- or moonlight is refracted in millions of randomly oriented hexagonal ice crystals suspended in the

The unique phenomenon was a welcome distraction for people who were waited patiently in long queues outside polling booths to cast their ballot. Some 1.24 crore voters in 53 were eligible to cast their votes in the penultimate round of the six phased election.

This phenomenon “happens in specific weather conditions due to splitting of light because of the presence of water molecules in the atmosphere”. This could indicate rainfall in the days ahead,” Kaustuv Chaudhuri, Secretary General, Kolkata Astronomy Centre, said.

When contacted officials at the regional meteorological office in Kolkata said there was forecast for rain in the next 24 hours in South-24 Parganas and East Midnapore.

“It is a kind of a rainbow and we are getting reports of it being spotted in other districts as well,” a met official said.

“The halo does not have any particular significance other than indicating a thin layer of moisture in the atmosphere,” another meteorologist said.

With only 0.4 mm of rain so far, April has been the cruelest month for Kolkatans. Day temperatures have been high and on most days it has been above 38 degrees. The capital city recorded the decade’s highest temperature of 41.3 degrees on 11 April.

Indian officials have said they expect a good monsoon this year, after two back to back deficit years.