Rare sky-high rainbow halo snapped in Lower Hutt

rainbow halo
A rainbow halo seen over Lower Hutt on Thursday. Photo credit: Kaila Kahui-Grosvenor.

A high school student in Lower Hutt has captured impressive photographs of a rainbow halo around the sun.

Sacred Heart College student Kaila Kahui-Grosvenor snapped the pics during lunchtime on Thursday.

"I saw this crazy looking halo around the sun and thought it looked pretty cool," she told Newshub. "A teacher said it was from the Australian fires."

Kaila Kahui-Grosvenor rainbow halo
The phenomenon is caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. Photo credit: Kaila Kahui-Grosvenor

WeatherWatch forecaster Philip Duncan told Newshub halos like these are usually caused by ice crystals very high up in the atmosphere - over 10km.

"The fine ice crystal behaves like mist so when the sun hits it, it refracts and reflects the light making a halo or rainbow around the sun and moon."

But he wouldn't rule out the Australian bushfires having an influence.

"The bush fires probably didn't create this, but I do admit our atmosphere is probably a little dirtier at the moment so I couldn't 100 percent rule it out."

Kaila Kahui-Grosvenor's halo
Another shot of the halo. Photo credit: Kaila Kahui-Grosvenor

He supplied Newshub with a photo taken by a skywatcher in Manukau, Horowhenua, showing cirrostratus clouds, which create halos and a similar phenomenon known as 'sun dogs', where two bright lights appear either side of the sun - often with a halo.

Cirrostratus clouds over Horowhenua on Thursday.
Cirrostratus clouds over Horowhenua on Thursday. Photo credit: Michael Kay/WeatherWatch

The weather over the next week or two is forecast to be nice for most of the country, with some parts not expected to get any rain until December. 

"Australia is sending us more of its hot air from this weekend into early next week," NIWA said. WeatherWatch predicts some regions will have temperatures 10C higher than average for this time of year.

"Remote inland areas of both islands will be pushing towards heatwave criteria, with at least four days ahead with temperatures 5C or more above normal," said WeatherWatch on its site. "You need five days to technically be a heatwave."