Atmospheric show dazzles Southern Kentucky Christmas morning

(Photo: J. Keith Ray)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) – Kentucky weather watchers got quite a show Christmas morning.

Sunlight was shining through thin clouds made of ice crystals, creating an optical phenomenon.

That’s what you are looking at in this picture shared by James Keith Ray, who shot it Christmas morning.

There is a halo around the sun, called a 22 degree halo because of its distance from the sun, and what James aptly describes as a “crown” on the upper part of the halo. That “crown” is known as an upper tangent arc.

Both features are caused by the sunlight being refracted through ice crystals that make up the clouds.

The 22 degree halo is fairly common and often you will see bright spots along the halo on either side of the sun known as “sun dogs”.

The upper tangent arc is somewhat more rare but we think ads a special touch to this Christmas morning atmospheric show.

James Keith Ray is a certified Skywarn weather spotter. He tells News 2 seeing this weather phenomenon on Christmas morning was very special.