SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — We’ve been receiving numerous pictures to our ushare folder at KELOLAND.com of what is known as sundogs, it’s a side of beauty on these cold January days.
The bitter cold and wind as of late have been helping suspend ice crystals in the atmosphere. Those crystals are the reason why we are seeing sundogs in KELOLAND. Here’s how they form.
Much like how rainbows form, as the sun’s rays travel through the ice crystals, they get bent or refracted. This causes a spectrum of visible colors.
As that light disperses, bright spots appear on either side of the sun. Depending on how many ice crystals there are, a full halo around the sun can also be seen.
This not only happens during the day, but it can sometimes be seen at night too, though more than likely it appears as a halo around the moon.
As temperatures warm, sundogs will not be as common, but keep an eye out for them as cold air returns through the winter.