I’ve always been fascinated by mysterious phenomena in the sky. Be it meteor showers, the northern lights or even good old rainbows. There’s just something about them that makes you believe in magic. Even if my brain tells me it’s plain physics. If you’re like me, you’ll love what the polar vortex in the US has surprised everyone with – Sundogs!
These are Sundogs in all their glory
— Lauren Rainson (@LaurenRainson) January 31, 2019
The physics behind Sundogs explained!
Remember teachers telling us that light is made up of all 7 colours of the rainbow? And how a prism can refract light into these colours?
According to the National Weather Service, when temperatures are really low, ice crystals in the atmosphere act like prisms and refract sunlight. Thus the two spots of light on either side of the sun are formed, and they are known as mock suns or sundogs. If the conditions are just right, sometimes rings of light or ‘halos’ can also be spotted.
The best time to see them is sunrise or sunset
— Jeff Burg (@burgfiresteel) January 29, 2019
Seen at our office: Fine ice crystals falling at the edge of lake-effect snow showers creating a light pillar above the sun and sun dogs (left and right) along a 22-degree halo. Current temperature -10 F. #wmiwx #miwx pic.twitter.com/uzZQ2od3lg
— NWS Grand Rapids (@NWSGrandRapids) January 31, 2019
The bright side of sub-zero temperatures! Netizens have been sharing beautiful photos of this optical effect on social media.
— Greg Schmitt (@GMittyBalltown) January 29, 2019
Front field this morning….you know it's cold when the sun dogs show up. pic.twitter.com/DotndaSHPG
— Kim Phillips (@kim_phillipsk) January 31, 2019
— Jake Weaver (@Golfer_Jake_78) January 29, 2019
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— Paul Ehling (@paehling) January 30, 2019
This is so surreal
— Chris Suchan (@ChrisSuchanWOAI) January 30, 2019
It might be stupid cold outside but one positive thing is…. SUNDOGS! pic.twitter.com/obM24D87Il
— Cheryl K (Cherryred) 🗽📎 🍌 (@CherrysCapuche) January 29, 2019
Beautiful, right? Seeing these pictures reminds me something Roald Dahl once wrote,
“And above all, watch with glittering eyes the whole world around you because the greatest secrets are always hidden in the most unlikely places. Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it.”