Science has the ability to impress us, confuse us and sometimes even scare us. Residents in Central Florida felt a combination of these feelings on Wednesday, when many of them noticed a giant ring around the sun. Some people thought it was a sign that the end of the world was near or that Earth was under attack from UFO's. Many people even called 911 to voice their concern about the ring.
Although the phenomenon is shocking to see, NASA scientists say that it is still fairly common and can easily be explained.
"Ice crystals bend direct sunlight, projecting it elsewhere into the sky, and at a certain angle – specifically 22 degrees – a halo can be seen around the sun," FOX 13 chief meteorologist Paul Dellegatto explained.
The ring was first noticed in the early afternoon, but only lasted a few hours and was gone by 2 p.m. Scientists say that this is because the weather condition had changed and the ice crystals were no longer present to bend the light and create the halo. The phenomenon is similar to rainbows, which can also only be observed for a short time and only when certain weather conditions are present.
People who were able to see the ring around the sun took photos and social networks like Facebook and Twitter were soon flooded by them.
Weird ring around the sun????? pic.twitter.com/8sZ1NwFufr
— chiara (@chiaramaddaloni) April 17, 2014
— Chapter 2 (@_chapter_2) April 16, 2014
EVERYONE GO LOOK AT THE RING AROUND THE SUN!!!!! pic.twitter.com/rlNQoliLER
— michelle (@michellev1rg) April 16, 2014
This is cool and freaky but why is there a ring around the sun science people?? pic.twitter.com/oFNEHsjNtu
— Minajxo (@FrenkiMinaj) April 16, 2014
So there's this ring around the sun and it kinda looks like a rainbow but scarier...is the world gonna blow up? pic.twitter.com/x5Eu6YotYn
— Princess Heavenridge (@EFK_Irish) April 16, 2014
Not everyone was impressed or worried and some joked about the ring.
the ring around the sun was actually Goku charging up a spirit bomb
— Connnnnor (@ConnorForRealll) April 17, 2014
Was there a ring around the sun today I didn't see any pictures of it on twitter
— jake williams (@jwills1196) April 16, 2014
People must have never seen a ring around the sun before
— Taylor Rossmoore (@SneakerHeadTros) April 16, 2014
red moon. mini flood. ring around the sun. what's next on the agenda?
— Phillip the Prophet (@philbaety) April 16, 2014
Although many people seemed to think that the ring around the sun was a bad omen, many others seemed to be impressed by it and happy to have had a chance to observe the phenomenon.
Were you able to see the ring around the sun on Wednesday or have you ever seen one before?
Image via Wikimedia Commons