The photo above is intended to be food for thought, as it shows a rather controversial phenomenon.
Mónika Bodó took this picture on 27 March 2008 between 16:43 – 16:46 on a flight from Athens to Budapest. As an air hostess, she flies several times a week, and very often photographs subhorizon halos and glories. This was the first time, however, when she saw such a phenomenon. For comparision, the original version of the above photo ( 1 ) and another image are also available ( 2 – 3 ).
The bright spot in the picture is at the antisolar point, the location of both the glory and the “subanthelion”. A short time earlier, the shadow of the airplane had been photographed ( 4 ) and it was exactly at this point where the brightening developped. On the other side of the airplane, the bottom of the 22° halo, subsun and subparhelia were visible ( 5 – 6 ).
When the “subanthelion” is photographed, it tends to appear where the diffuse anthelic arcs forming a large X cross the subparhelic circle, and the brightening seems to be caused by the meeting of these halos. On 7 August 2006, Francesco De Comité took a photo of these antisolar halos, and there the shape of the “subanthelion” is clearly a square, thus suggesting that it is not a separate halo form, just a bright spot created by the crossing anthelic arcs ( 7 ). Another image was taken by Susanne Danßmann on 3 June 2006 ( 8 ), and one can be seen in Walt Tape’s Atmospheric Halos (page 71).
What makes Mónika Bodó’s observation very interesting is that even though the spot looks like a halo, the subparhelic circle does not show up in the images, and there are no other halos visible in the antisolar region. If it is really a halo, her photograph seems to show one not caused by the crossing of these arcs.
There have been other observations of a single bright spot at the antisolar point, often taken as a distant glory. It might be, however, that it is indeed an independent halo form. So far no sufficient explanation exists, suggestions and opinions are welcome.