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2009 High School Physics Photo Contest

Winner's Showcase

 

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Honorable Mention - Natural

Title: 22 Degree Sun Halo
Student: Ruijun Wang
School: West High School, Madison, Wisconsin
Teacher: Mr. Lyman

Nature is filled with beautiful surprises in unexpected places. The sun damages one?s eyes when stared at, but creates many beautiful optical phenomenons. This picture shows a 22 degree radius sun halo with a hand shielding the viewer from the sun. When the sky is covered with thin cirrus clouds and when there are ice crystals oriented roughly perpendicular to sunlight, a ring of light can be seen. The halo is created by hexagonal ice crystals refracting the sun?s rays. The area inside appears dark since there is no light being refracted directly inside the circle of light. Depending on the position of the viewer, each person looking at the halo sees a different ring created from a unique set of ice crystals refracting light at the right angle.

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