Optical phenomena in the glassy dome

Very bright sun dogs in Fargo, North Dakota. Also visible are parts of the 22° halo (the arcs passing through each sundog), a sun pillar (the vertical line) and the parhelic circle (the horizontal line).

Cicero and the double sun

A passage in Cicero‘s On the Republic (54–51 BC) is one of many by Greek and Roman authors who refer to sun dogs and similar phenomena:

Be it so, said Tubero; and since you invite me to discussion, and present the opportunity, let us first examine, before anyone else arrives, what can be the nature of the parhelion, or double sun, which was mentioned in the senate. Those that affirm they witnessed this prodigy are neither few nor unworthy of credit, so that there is more reason for investigation than incredulity.

Halos of sun and moon

Today we’ll be going to talk about some atmospheric optical phenomena also known as halos of sun or moon, including sun dogs and other magnificent explosions of light and colors. At school we were taught  light is reflected and refracted  by the ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere and may split up into colors because of dispersion. The crystals behave like prisms and mirrors refracting and reflecting light between their faces, sending shafts of light in particular directions.

The 22° halo and the Brocken Bow

Among the most well known halos is the 22°halo (formally called “parhelia”   /  the singular parhelion comes from Greek παρήλιον (parēlion), meaning ‘beside the sun’; from παρά (para), meaning ‘beside’, and ἥλιος (helios), meaning ‘sun’), which appears as a large ring around the sun or the moon with a radius of about 22°. Another amazing phenomenon that can appear on a misty mountain side  is called the Brocken Bow that is the apparently enormous and magnified shadow cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun as a glowing ring of glory.

Refraction and reflection of light

Why do these phenomena appear? They are due to the refraction and reflection of light. Considering this subject, a source says: ” As the ice crystals gently float downwards with their large hexagonal faces almost horizontal, sunlight is reflected horizontally and sun dogs are seen”. So, accordingly to the scientist community, sun halos and sun dogs are caused by gently and horizontally falling ice particles splitting up sun lights in its spectral colors. There’s just one problem with this statement..ice particles regardless of their shape only sporadically fall that way, but they fall spinning , changing direction according to interaction with the medium air, never gently and horizontally…thus scattering the light. When all spectral colors scatter they make perfect white. However ice and water particles can act as a screen for each spectral color individually, if the light is being split up at a point between the light source and the particles.

Light passing through different densities

When there’s a glass between the light source and the observer,  going through the glass the ray of light actually does slow down. That slowing down causes the splitting of the ray into different colors. The angle and the wave length at which the light enters a substance and the density of that substance determine how much the light is reflected. When light passes from  a less dense to a more dense substance, the light is refracted away from the normal. The bending occurs because light travels more slowly in a denser medium. An example of refraction is the dispersion of white light into its individual colors by a glass prism.

Colors out of a prism

As visible light exits the prism, it is refracted and separated into a magnificent display of colors. Each color from the original beam of light has its own particular wavelength and each wavelength is slowed by the glass. The amount of reflection increases as the wavelength of light decreases. Shorter wavelength of light (violet and blue) are slowed more and consequently experience more bending than do the longer wavelengths (orange and red). So the colors get separated when they first enter the glass on an angle: that’s because light interacts with the electrons of the glass in different ways. But, when there’s no glass between the source of the light and the observer, no spectral colors are visible nor halo around it.


The smooth curve of the dome

Now, the light from the sun and the moon is split, but light only gets split when an angle is provided. Air generally cannot bend light in an angle, only in a smooth curve as the thickness of the atmosphere would increase towards the earth.

The rainbow

There is no way to split light unless it passes through a solid and transparent medium. And here I want to consider the rainbow. You have probably noticed that when watering a garden, given the right conditions and when the sun is angled the right way,  by the aid of a sprinkler, you can create a rainbow through the water drops. Now there’s a question:  why can you not simulate a rainbow indoor? You can create a rainbow indoor but you need a mirror. Without a mirror you cannot make a rainbow indoor. So when you need a mirror indoor what provided a mirror outdoors? Answer: necessarily there is glass somewhere between the  sun and the water and the ice particles.

We can see a rainbow when it rains or after the rain, if the sun is at the right. What causes a rainbow? It is caused by refraction and dispersion of light  by raindrops. When it rains or immediately after rains there are thousands of raindrops floating around in the air. These water droplets which are nearly spherical in shape, act as tiny prisms and split the sunlight into its constituent colors. When these reach our eyes, we see a rainbow.


All these facts confirm the statement in Genesis 1:16 about the transparent  firmament put in the midst of the waters and dividing the waters from the waters. The waters below are flat, since water is always flat, but the solidity that divides the waters is the glassy dome. Atmospheric refraction is technically not possible without a solid extension above the earth. I’ll add only a verse from Job in addition: “Can you beat out the skies, hard like a molten mirror?” (Job 37:18) and this is not simply great poetry.


Soon will be published our book about Flat Earth.


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