Kota Kinabalu: A circular sun halo hovered over the noon skies of the State Capital Wednesday, prompting many to call the Daily Express office as to what it may portend.
In scientific terms what they saw was simply a "prism effect" of millions or may be billions of very small ice crystals that compose high altitude cirrus clouds - thin wispy clouds that are typically found at 20,000ft (6,000m).
Clouds are essentially micro water droplets but because of their extraordinary high level, these ice crystals that compose cirrus clouds originate from the freezing of super-cooled water droplets.
What was even more captivating about the phenomena and which could not be seen by the naked eye was captured by Sabah Publishing House Managing Director Datuk Clement Yeh on his Nokia E61i at around that time in Tanjung Aru.
Clement did not want to hurt his eyes and started clicking away the halo on his handphone camera placed on his outstretched palm. As it turned out, he not only captured the halo on camera but also a mysterious white speck.
"It was only on reviewing the images later that I noticed this white speck or dot. Even then, I did not think much of it as it could easily be a speck of dust on the camera lens.
"I then decided to zoom in on the speck and noticed that it was not stationary but seemed to have been in motion in a linear fashion suggesting that whatever it is, it had obviously been moving at high speed."
A professional photographer, he does not think it is a reflection on his phone lens since it was not stationary.
At this point in time, nobody is able to explain what it is but we provide these images that Clement took for the public to decide or even speculate.
Back to the sun halo, this phenomenon is fairly common among the cirrus clouds and may cause three types of effects. One, a circular halo that looks like a rainbow like the one seen above KK.
The second type of halo features a sun-dog coloured image of the sun as a bright spot in the lower left while a third type may take the form of a tangential arc - a second curve near the top of the circular halo.
Physics students would probably understand the slightly complex phenomenon better.
The circular halo is said to be formed by pencil-like (angular-shaped) ice crystals which are all falling from the sky at a rate slower than raindrops and oriented horizontally simply because that's how things fall due to air friction.
But the horizontal orientation is random and so any crystal that formed the proper angle relative to the observer and the sun bends the sunlight at a 22 degree angle thus forming a circle 22 degrees to the sun.
Kuala Lumpur: Dengue fever cases rose by 10.2 percent in five states during the Sept 30 to Oct 6 period compared to the previous week.
The states concerned were Kedah which saw an increase in cases from 26 to 51, Pahang (from 40 to 50), Terengganu (from 34 to 37), Selangor (from 233 to 277) and Perak (from 35 to 55), said the Health Ministry's diseases control director Datuk Dr Hasan Abdul Rahman.
Sabah experienced a drop in cases from 50 to 47 while in Kuala Lumpur, the cases declined slightly from 111 to 110, he said in a statement here Thursday.
Dr Hasan said a total of 876 cases with three deaths were reported during the week, up by 10.2 percent or 81 cases compared to the previous week which had 795 cases.
He said up to Oct 6 this year, a total of 39,132 cases with 88 deaths were reported, an increase of 43 percent compared to 27,370 cases with 64 deaths during the same period last year.
From checks carried out, a total of 1,149 premises were found to be breeding Aedes mosquitoes and 960 or 83.6 percent were residential premises or shophouses, Dr Hasan said.
He added that 292 compounds totalling RM47,600 were issued as a result.
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