Colebrook New Hampshire 1935 

The drawing was made in 1935 at Colebrook, New Hampshire by Gerald E Owen. He was a rural mail carrier (he carried mail by horse and wagon, horse and sleigh, and then automobile during his time as a mail carrier) and he kept chickens, pigs, and four or five jersey cows on a small farm on Bridge Street. He was always interested in birds, geology, and weather.

He wrote of the display
[my comments in brackets]: "Unusual Phenomena observed from 10 am until 12 noon on Monday, Mar. 4, 1935. The sun rose before 7 am in a clear cloudless sky. At about 9:30, a thin haze appeared in the north, gradually overcastting the sky. [a high cirrus cloud containing the halo forming ice crystals] At first the rainbow colors appeared on either side of the sun, right and left. Then, above and below, [developing 22 degree halo] and a thin arc of light similar to the aurora appeared at the northward. This arc gradually grew to intersect the center of the sun. [colourless parhelic circle from plates and columns] At this time the colored circle [22 degree halo] was completely around the sun intersecting the larger light circle. Then appeared above the sun circle, a greater colored arc and below the sun circle, a smaller and very brilliant arc. [Column crystals form upper and lower tangent arcs becoming, as the sun climbed, a circumscribed halo] Just outside the intersections of the circles appeared very brilliant spectrums [sundogs from plate crystals] and away at the southwest appeared and northwest appeared opposite colored arcs.[Rare infralateral arcs from short column crystals]"

If only all descriptions of halo displays were so accurate. Compare Mr Owen's drawing with the HaloSim simulations made for a sun elevation of 36.5º - shortly before noon at Colebrook. The drawing shows very well the placement of the arcs and the colours of the parhelia, 22º and circumscribed halos. The colours of the infralateral arcs (from 90º inclined crystal faces) are shown more spread than those of the arcs from 60º inclined faces as indeed they are.

Reproduced with permission from Mr Owen's grandson, Rob Owen. ©Rob Owen.