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'Halo of the sun.' Photographer: Tom Armitage (UCL Earth Sciences) | by UCL News
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'Halo of the sun.' Photographer: Tom Armitage (UCL Earth Sciences)

Honourable Mention, UCL Doctoral School 2014 'Research Images as Art/Art Images as Research' competition.


This photograph was taken on the ice covered Arctic Ocean, 50km off the north coast of Greenland at a location of 84N, 40W on April 1st 2014.


Having spent four days and three nights camping on the sea ice and making scientific measurements in support of the European Space Agency CryoSat-2 mission,* our fieldwork was over and a colleague is seen walking to collect some equipment to be packed on a plane back to land.


The halo of light around the sun is not a photographic artefact but is caused by the presence of ice crystals in the air, which refract the suns light at exactly 22 degrees to form a circular ring of light.


The crystals hand been blown up by strong winds during a strong storm that day, as temperatures on the ice reached up to -35C.


* CryoSat-2 provides scientists with data about the polar ice caps and tracks changes in the thickness of the ice with a resolution of about 1.3 centimetres (1⁄2 in).

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Taken on April 1, 2014