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'Magical' sun halo spotted over northern Sweden

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'Magical' sun halo spotted over northern Sweden
The photographer described it as a magical experience. Photo: Marit Aasvang Olsson
11:15 CET+01:00
There was an incredible light phenomenon in far northern Sweden last week – and one woman was lucky enough to capture it on her phone.

It was like something from a dream. 

At least that's how Marit Aasvang Olsson felt after she captured a "sun halo" on her camera phone. 

The Norwegian woman, who lives in Malmberget around 100 kilometres north of the Arctic Circle, said she was dropping her daughter off at school last week when she spotted the phenomenon in the sky. 

"I wasn't as cold as it usually is, it was around -22C," she told The Local, adding that temperatures had been as low as -30C during the week. 

"I looked out the window and saw the sky, it was incredible. I'd never seen anything like it before."

"My daughter asked me: Are we seeing the same thing right now? We just couldn't believe it."

A halo effect is a light phenomenon appearing as a ring around the sun or more suns on the sky. It happens when the light is shining through ice crystals in the air.

"For a halo to be formed, ice crystals must have clean geometric shapes," SVT meteorologist Åsa Rasmussen explained after a similar sighting in February last year (click the link to see the picture).

"This is because the light will be spread and reflected in the same direction. If ice crystals are shaped unevenly, we get an irregular distribution and we get an even haze instead of a halo."

As for the more recent sighting in Malmberget, Aasvang Olsson reckons it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience. 

"We'll maybe never see anything like it again, it was just so wonderful," she told The Local.

"And I have to tell you, the colours were even better in reality. It was truly magical."

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