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The Amazing Optics of Greenland

Published: at 06:31 PM

It is not unique to Greenland, but it sure does happen here a lot. A sky full of rainbows and shapes laid out in a precise pattern. Oriented ice crystals settling through the atmosphere, and their individual facets, reflect the incident sunlight at very specific angles. There’s a halo around the sun, sundogs to each side of that halo. Then there is the parhelic circle that goes through the sun and all the way around the sky behind you. The upper tangent arc above the halo, and maybe a column below the halo down to the surface. Perhaps some other helic arcs or lateral arcs at different places across the sky. There can be more… Absolutely brilliant displays across a mostly sunny sky. We’ve had few clouds since our arrival, and the temperature has been cold, so we’ve been graced with these displays on a daily basis. They make it hard to focus on work.

The install team standing in front of a large display of optical phenomena in Raven Greenland

The install team on a beautiful day.