Some very visible “sundogs” flanked the sun Wednesday after dawn, providing a natural light show for anyone in northeast Iowa who took a moment to glance at the eastern sky. The phenomena has happened a few times over the last week, accompanying the bitter cold and clear sky.
A sundog, also known as a parhelion, is a colored spot of light that can appear on either or both sides of the sun on cold, clear days, according to the National Weather Service. They are caused by light from the sun being refracted through ice crystals suspended in the air.
The colors usually go from red nearest the sun, out to blue on the outside of the sundog away from the sun, although the colors are not distinct like in a rainbow and blend into white at the outer edges of the sundogs.
They usually flank the sun within a 22 degree arc that forms a halo around the sun.
Photos by Derrick Berhow