Optical Effects
Rainbow I
Rainbow II
Rainbow III
Polarisation Rainbow
Halo I
Halo II
Sun Pillar
Sun through clouds
Crepuscular Rays




Parhelion.jpg displays one of the parhelions which could be noticed several times per week in summer 2001. The series Parhelion2.jpg to Parhelion8.jpg was taken in winter 2002/3 and also at 12/17/2003. The parhelions mostly occur in stratiform Cirrus clouds as shown in this series. Alternatively they arise in aged and therefore broadened and layered contrails.

Parhelion9.jpg and Parhelion10.jpg were recorded during the flight from Frankfurt to Birmingham at an altitude of 11 km above the British Channel. The Cirrus clouds which the aircraft passed were barely larger than the aircraft itself. They consisted of extremely thin, small cloud frazzles, which were almost invisible from the aircraft. They could only be recognized because of short "twinkling" of the diffraction effects.
According to this it was difficult to take a picture. The bright spots on the images are scratches and stains on the window glass in the back light.

Parhelion11.jpg was also taken from an airliner at cruising altitude. However the parhelion was visible for a longer period of time (several minutes).

Optical Effect: Parhelions occur as elucidation mostly of the 22 degree halos at the same altitude as the sun if it is at a low angle. If the sun stands higher above the horizon the parhelions are found at angles larger than 22 degrees. This is caused by the refraction of the light at the hexagonal small ice platelets (not at the columns) within the Cirrus Clouds. Thereby the small platelets have to be aligned in a way that their basis (the largest ice surface) is coplanar to the earth surface. The clearer the air is the brighter the appearance of the parhelions.

Parhelion.jpg: S. Borrmann, Ingelheim, Germany, July 2001

Parhelion2-4.jpg: S. Borrmann, Pulpit Rock, Carinthia, 4 January 2003 around 3 p.m.

Parhelion5-8.jpg: S. Borrmann, Frankfurt Airport, 17 December 2003 between 2:27 and 2:32 p.m.

Parhelion9+10.jpg: S. Borrmann, flight from Frankfurt to Birmingham, 17 December 2003

Parhelion11.jpg: S. Borrmann, flight from Frankfurt to Philadelphia, 6 December 2004 at 1:38 p.m.


Camera Parameters

Olympus E-1 SLR 14-54 mm objective. Exposure and sensitivity choice was not automatically performed by the camera. In order to achieve possibly short time of exposures, the images were taken with a fix lens aperture and a sensitivity of 400 ASA in a sRGB colour range at a resolution of 2560 x 1920 Pixel x 24 colours.