This planet is full of wonderous and amazing things. These are things not many people notice and for the most part, we take for granted.

While the photos below look completely unreal, they are very real. Photographer Christopher Michel took these photos on a trip to Antarctica and I am in awe! It is quite clear he has a gift. Who knew Antarctica’s sky was so marvelous? While out on the ice with Antarctic Logistics and Expeditions he shot some of the best images I have seen in quite some time.

No, this is not a scene from Black Mirror or anything Sci-Fi at all, it is nature in its truest form. This is a place very few will ever visit and is alien-like in itself. These images look so intense because of something known as ‘parhelion.’

Parhelion is something that happens when there are ice crystals in the air. Those crystals are able to form in cirrus clouds and can be suspended in the air near the ground creating an amazing scene. These are even referred to as ‘diamond dust’ more often than not.

Britannica defines this phenomenon as follows:

Parhelion, also called Mock Sun, or Sun Dog, atmospheric optical phenomenon appearing in the sky as luminous spots 22° on each side of the Sun and at the same elevation as the Sun. Usually, the edges closest to the Sun will appear reddish. Other colors are occasionally visible, but more often the outer portions of each spot appear whitish.

Parhelia occur when the Sun or Moon shines through a thin cirrus cloud composed of hexagonal ice crystals falling with their principal axes vertical, as opposed to the halo phenomenon that occurs when the principal axes are randomly arranged in a plane perpendicular to the Sun’s or Moon’s rays. The red end of the spectrum, being bent the least, appears on the inside, with the blue, when visible, appearing on the outside. Parhelia most commonly appear during the winter in the middle latitudes. See also halo.

These shapes usually float in a manner that allows them to refract light thus giving off this interesting look. It almost looks as if there are smaller suns around the real one. A halo of suns in a sense. Please take a look at these images below and let us know what you think.

(All photos in this articles were taken by Christopher Michel, click here to see more of his phenomenal artwork.)

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