Triple Sun Over China—An Optical Illusion? (Video)

January 11, 2011 Updated: September 29, 2015

[youtube]If2dtqyGUbc[/youtube] Three Suns appear over China.A “triple sun” was spotted in Northeast China, above Changchun, the capital of Jilin Province, on Jan. 8. Two smaller suns were visible on either side of the main sun, each one-tenth in size of the main sun, with a circular and rainbow-like halo around the main sun and a strong light on top.

This has been claimed by experts, according to ITN, to be the "phantom sun" astronomical phenomenon, unofficially called “ice halo,” caused by refraction in the atmosphere.

Refraction is the change in direction of an electromagnetic wave, such as light, due to a change in speed upon passing through a different medium.

The refraction has been attributed to ice crystals that form relatively higher clouds called cirrus clouds. These clouds are more prevalent in winter than summer.

The scene has been captured on cameras and cell phones by many people who view it as a very rare occurrence. Chinese culture believes that a  "triple sun" is a manifestation of significant social phenomena.

This is not the first time a "triple sun" has appeared over China. In 2010, an image from scol.com.cn showed three suns seen in Leshan, Sichuan Province. The image was captured at around 8 p.m. on July 26.

However, the configuration of these suns was triangular, and this cannot be explained by the "phantom sun" phenomenon, which can only cause three suns to appear on the same plane, or 'side-by-side'. This phenomenon has yet to be explained, and has been described as UFOs by some observers.