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The sun over Bellingham is looking rather angelic. Here's what's causing that halo

A halo is seen around the sun on Monday, April 9, in Bellingham.
A halo is seen around the sun on Monday, April 9, in Bellingham. evan.abell@bellinghamherald.com

Don't look now — no really, PLEASE don't look directly at the sun (remember President Trump during the solar eclipse?) — but the sun has one of those weird halo things going on right now.

Social media from Seattle to Whatcom County Monday is filled with picture posts showing a halo around the sun, and it can be seen in Bellingham.

Halos like these are often seen around the sun and the moon, and scientists call them 22-degree halos, according to EarthSky.com.

According to the website, the visual effect is caused by high cirrus clouds — thin, high clouds around 20,000 feet high — forming as a storm approaches.

These clouds contain tiny ice crystals that both refract (split the light) and reflect (glints of light from the ice crystals) the light of the sun. The ice crystals must be positioned just right in respect to your eye for the halo to appear.

They are called 22-degree halos because the ring has a radius of approximately 22 degrees around the sun of the moon.

Lunar halos appear mostly colorless, according to EarthSky.com, but halos around the sun can include red or blue.

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