One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1A luminous halo around a shadow projected by the sun onto a cloud or fog bank.
- ‘Incidentally, it is widely believed that the anthelion is the origin of the tradition of painting a halo around the head of saints in Western art.’
- ‘According to this theory, the anthelion should be visible together with other halos caused by column-shaped crystals if the ice crystals are spread over the whole sky.’
- 1.1 A parhelion seen opposite the sun in the sky.
- ‘The anthelion is a spot on the parhelic circle (the white arc through the sun and running parallel to the horizon), where the Wegener arcs, the Hastings arcs and the Tricker arcs cross the parhelic circle and increase the brightness.’
Late 17th century: from Greek anthēlion, neuter of anthēlios ‘opposite to the sun’, from anth- (variant of anti- ‘against’) + hēlios ‘sun’.
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