Why Do I See Halos Around Lights?
In this article we will try to understand why do i see halos around lights. Some people think it’s due to the sun shining through the window or some other reason. However, there are many theories and opinions on this topic.
Some say that it’s due to the fact that our eyes have different types of cells called rods and cones. Rods detect low frequency light while cones detect high frequencies. When you look at something with your eye, the cone cells pick up all the details, whereas the rod cells focus on what is most important. These two types of cells work together to give us color vision. For example, when you look at a red object, the cones are stimulated and they send signals to your brain which tell you that it is a red color.
On the other hand, if you look at a green object then the rods are stimulated and they send signals to your brain telling you that it is green. Your brain interprets these signals as meaning “green” so you perceive the world as being green.
When you look at a white surface, then both the rods and cones are stimulated. The signals from the rods and cones to your brain are in perfect harmony so the brain perceives white as the color. However, when there is a difference in the signals sent to the brain about a particular color, then you perceive that object as having halos or rings around it. This is why when you look at a red traffic light you see a yellow ring around it. This is because the red cones are telling your brain that it is red while the green ones are telling your brain that it is green so you perceive it as yellow.
You see, the actual color of the traffic light is irrelevant. What matters is how your brain combines the signals sent from the rods and cones. When you stare at one point for too long, then your eyes send an excessive amount of signals to the brain. The brain cannot process all these signals so it blocks out some of them in order to create a balance. This is what causes halos and rings around objects.
Our brain creates a balance between the signals that are sent from the rods and cones due to the principle of energy efficiency. The brain only processes the signals that are important which is why you do not see a halo around the words in this article. However, it sometimes misinterprets the signals and this is what causes halos and rings around objects.
When you look at a light bulb then your rods and cones send different types of signals to your brain. The cones tell your brain that it is white while the rods tell your brain that it is yellow. Since there is a difference in the signals sent to the brain, you perceive a yellowish-white halo around the light bulb.
When you look at the moon then your rods see a small object while your cones see something much bigger. This causes a difference in the signals sent to your brain causing it to see the moon as though it has an aura around it.
Our rods and cones are also responsible for our ability to see in the dark. This is because the rods are more sensitive to light than the cones. When there is not much available light, then our eyes are primarily composed of rods. This is why it is harder for some people to see in the dark. It is almost as if they only have cones in their eyes rather than rods.
The ability for someone to see in the dark can be affected by various factors such as age and environment. For example, someone who works a lot at night may develop better eyesight than someone who works during the day. A doctor once told me this is because working at night increases the amount of rods in your eyes and this allows you to see in the dark more effectively.
Personally, I think that it is because our bodies adapt to our surroundings. This is why some animals can see in the dark while others are not nocturnal. It is almost as if their bodies produce more rods in order to enable them to see in the dark.
That also explains why some people develop a fear of the dark. It is almost as if their brains are unable to process all of the signals sent to it by their eyes when they are placed in the dark. This causes a great imbalance which makes them uncomfortable. Fortunately, their brains adapt overtime and eventually they will be able to see in the dark like everyone else.
Sources & references used in this article:
Fluorescent chlorophyll catabolites in bananas light up blue halos of cell death by S Moser, T Müller, A Holzinger, C Lütz… – Proceedings of the …, 2009 – National Acad Sciences
The Burrell Schmidt deep Virgo survey: tidal debris, galaxy halos, and diffuse intracluster light in the Virgo cluster by JC Mihos, P Harding, JJ Feldmeier… – The Astrophysical …, 2016 – iopscience.iop.org
Entoptic halos by J Mellerio, DA Palmer – Vision research, 1970 – Elsevier
Discovery of solar system-size halos around young stars by S Beckwith, B Zuckerman, MF Skrutskie… – The Astrophysical …, 1984 – adsabs.harvard.edu
Simple device for quantifying the influence of halos after lasik surgery by R Gutiérrez, JR Jimenez, C Villa… – Journal of biomedical …, 2003 – researchgate.net
Shredded galaxies as the source of diffuse intrahalo light on varying scales by CW Purcell, JS Bullock, AR Zentner – The Astrophysical Journal, 2007 – iopscience.iop.org
The structure of cold dark matter halos by JF Navarro – Symposium-international astronomical union, 1996 – cambridge.org