Published on 2 Nov 2013 Sections , ,

Rare ‘triple suns’ shine a light on northern China

A rare illusion of what looks like three separate suns, can be seen in the sky over northern China, with some residents reporting sightings of five “suns”, along with a rainbow-like halo.

For two hours, the city of Chifeng was lit up by a rare illusion known as “triple suns”.

People rushed outdoors to take pictures and video of the two additional “suns” that appeared in the sky, surrounded by rainbow-like halos.

In some areas of the city, in the Inner Mongolia region of northern China, residents reported seeing five suns shining.

The illusion – a legitimate astronomical phenomenon – is also known as phantom sun or ice halo, according to the Chifeng Meteorological Bureau.

In some countries, it is called a “sun dog”, but its official name is the pathelia.

It appears when ice crystals create high clouds in the air around 6,000 metres above ground, and produce reflected sunlight.

“The cause of such phenomenon lies in the existence of the stratocirrus consisting of ice crystals in the air, and sunlight is reflected by the crystals into such an illusion,” said Chang Xin, a forecaster at Chifeng Meteorological Bureau.

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