Sun halo over Malaysia
© YouTube/KiniTV
Fadzli Hussen (left) and Meor Alief Rasdi wave the Sarawak and Malaysia flags as they celebrate National Day at Kuching Sentral beneath a 22° halo phenomenon around the sun. Photo by Chimon Upon

A spectacular phenomenon took place on National Day today as members of the public throughout the state observed a 22° halo around the sun, with many taking the opportunity to snap photos of it to share on social media.

The optical phenomenon was observed in Kuching and Miri, with double rainbows forming a large circular ring around the sun as early as 11am on National Day.

Vehicles were also seen moving slowly as drivers and passengers tried to capture shots of the phenomenon.

A 22° halo is named thus because the ring has a radius of approximately 22°, and forms when sunlight or moonlight is refracted in the enormous amount of hexagonal ice crystals that are suspended in the earth's atmosphere.

According to its article on Wikipedia, a 22° halo is not rare - occurring as frequently as 100 days a year and is much more common than rainbows.

Members of the public are advised to avoid staring at the rings for an extended period as the glare from the sun may damage their eyes.

The double rainbow that formed around the sun. Photo by Roystein Emmor