Rare atmospheric sight spotted around Seattle

Photo: Liem Bahneman

Local photographer Liem Bahneman has had his shares of incredible photos around the Seattle area, be it the northern lights, or the Supermoon.

But Wednesday he captured an elusive photo near Bothell of something he's been trying to find for years -- a parhelic circle.

"Finally spotted one today! It lasted for at least 20 minutes, not sure how long before I spotted it, it was there," he wrote excitedly while attaching these photos. "In addition to the arcs annotated in the photos, there was also a Circumzenithal arc. I don't recall the last time I saw a Parry arc, either."

Here are two photos he sent in, each notated by him for what kind of arc you're looking at:

Each of these arcs are caused by varying degrees of refractions due to ice crystals in the clouds near the sun's location in the sky. The shapes of the crystals will determine what kind of show you get.

The Atmospheric Optics site will get you all sorts of details on how these amazing light displays form.