Over the past years, the Fichtelberg – Keilberg/Klínovec twin peak region in the German / Czech ore mountains has proven to be an unexpectedly active place for diamond dust halos. As shown in a recent study by Claudia Hinz et al., this high halo activity may have already been present there for decades or even longer, resulting in local myths but sadly few scientific reports in the halo literature up to several years ago.
Another exceptional display was observed on the top of the Fichtelberg (1215 m) on December 18th, 2017, by Gerd Franze, the head of the local meteorological station. He took about 400 photographs from about 12.20 to 13.20 CET (at sun elevations from 16.0° to 14.3°). During the course of the display, the temperature increased from –3.6 °C to its peak value of –1.9 °C at 13:10, followed by a decline down to –5.0 °C over the subsequent hour. Wind was noticed only at very low speeds of about 2-4 m/s coming from between southern and southwestern directions. Fog from the bohemian basin was drifting over the mountain top the whole day. No snow guns were running, as there already was enough natural snow for skiing.
a) view towards the sun, b) view towards the anthelion, c) and d) corresponding simulations using the parameters below
Simulation parameters for HaloPoint 2.0
Concave and convexe Parry arc. Photos: Ruben Jakob
At the Fichtelgebirge, a low mountain range in northeastern Bavaria, there were similar halo phenomena as in the ore mountains circa 100km away (see article). In the morning, the high fog staunched and dissolved while passing the mountains. From afar, a very interesting cloud edge was seen at Mount Schneeberg (1051m above sea level). Shortly ahead Schneeberg, the temperature fell below -8 °C and rose to -5 °C in the fog. In the valley between the two mountains diamond dust was non-existent. I kept searching and trying to get out of the fog. Just in the village Grassemann (about 700m above sea level) there was a right parhelion and shortly afterwards a Supralateral arc visible above the fog. After 20 minutes, the fog suddenly came up to me and conjured a variety of halos in the sky. When I saw the concave and the convex Parry arc as well as the Moilanen arc distinctly, I was speechless. After that, the halo activity waned slowly. At 10 o’clock there were no more halos seen. The high fog broadened increasingly and the sun couldn’t shine through.
Grassemann 09.17 CET
Grassemann 09.18 CET
Grassemann 09.18 CET
Grassemann 09.21 CET
Grassemann 09.25 CET
Grassemann 09.26 CET
Grassemann 09.31 CET
Grassemann 09.43 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.13 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.16 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.24 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.27 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.38 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.40 CET
Ochsenkopf 11.41 CET
All in all, the following halo types were visible:
– Upper tangent arc
– Upper and lower sun pillar
– Circumzenithal arc
– 46°-halo and Supralateral arc
– Fragment of parhelic circle
– Upper concave and convex Parry arcs
– Upper Tape arcs
– Heliac arc
– Subhelic arc
– Moilanen arc
Afterwards I drove to the top of Mount Ochsenkopf (1024m above sea level). There was a second halo show starting at 11.10 CET. However, expect of the right infralateral arc with the Tape arc, there were no further halo types.
Author: Ruben Jacob, Burgkunstadt, Germany
On January 22nd 2017 I had the opportunity to witness a halo phenomenon in my home town for the first time.
The observation took place in Jena-Maua Germany (50°51’59.4″N 11°36’02.0″E) from 8:45-10:45 CET within about one kilometer. The maximum activity was observed between 10:15 and 10:45 CET.
We had a high-pressure weather situation with more and more lifting and dispelling fog (starting with 50m AGL) in the ‘Saale’-valley. Measured temperatures were about -10 to -6 degrees.
After recognizing the lower sun pillar besides the left Subparhelia in front of the fog boundary (seen from 300m height) I drove closer to the fog and found myself standing inside diamond dust (height 150m).
Between 9:45 and 10:45 the following types of halos have been witnessed: 22° halo, left and right parhelia, upper and lower tangent arcs, upper and lower sun pillar, Circumzenithal Arc, parhelic circle, Anthelion, left and right 120° parhelia, Supralateral arc, Parry arc, Subsun, left and right subparhelia, Tricker’s anthelic arc, Tapes arcs, Heliac arc and subhelic arc.
Uncertainties exist concerning the following observations: Lowitz arcs and Moilanen arc.
To sum up the best possibility of seeing this phenomenon was inside or near Jena-Maua – a small district of the city Jena which has some industry chimneys (compare the last photographs with the smoke trail). It seems legit to suppose that industrial fine particules conduced sublimation/condensation nucleus for the diamond dust development.
Author: Marco Rank, Jena, Thuringia, Germany