Sunday 22 May 2011


During the recent site preparation and testing, the KAIRA team was treated to a spectacular parhelion. Parhelia (also known as "mock suns" or "sun dogs") are patches of light that appear 22 degrees to either side of the sun. The effect is caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. The parhelion can be seen at the same altitude as the sun, near the right-hand edge of the image. Unfortunately, the photograph does not do it justice. The view is looking northwest from the LOFAR-FI609 HBA site.

Although in the image there are various 'lens flares' around the sun itself, the parhelion is a real atmospheric phenomenon, and is clearly visible to the naked eye. This is not the first time we've seen this effect over a LOFAR site. In fact, I photographed one from the LOFAR-UK site in Chilbolton last year (LINK).

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