Scheiner's Halo: Evidence for Ice Ic in the Atmosphere

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  23 Jan 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4480, pp. 389-390
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4480.389


Refraction of sunlight at the angle of minimum deviation between octahedral faces of crystals of ice Ic in the upper atmosphere could produce a halo around the sun or the moon at 27.46°. Crystals of hexagonal ice having low-index faces cannot produce a halo of this radius. It is therefore suggested that Scheiner's halo, which has been reported at least four times since 1629 at 28° from the sun, is due to ice Ic. If this is correct, it is apparently the first evidence that ice Ic occurs naturally and that liquid water can freeze to ice Ic.