Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Wordless Wednesday: A Snowy Sunrise Complete with Sun dogs

The snow came down all day yesterday and we probably received 8-10 inches. The wind blew all last night and it continues to blow at 15-30mph today, leaving lots of snow drifts on the farm and on the gravel roads. Even though it is bitterly cold out there, this morning's sunrise was a site to see. I peeked out the window this morning and had to do a double take because there was a rainbow on either side of the sun. I learned later that these are called Sun dogs. 

Through a quick Google search I discovered that this is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, on either side of the sun. And because I'm a science nerd and I can't just leave the description at that, I had to find out how these are formed. Sun dogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds, or during very cold weather, these ice crystals are called diamond dust, and drift in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them with a minimum deflection of 22 degrees. If the crystals are randomly oriented, a complete ring around the sun is seen.  Often as the crystals sink through the air, they become vertically aligned, so sunlight is refracted horizontally- in this case, sun dogs are seen. Wow! That is just fascinating! Thank you Wikipedia! 

Well this wasn't much of a Wordless Wednesday, but I  hope you learned a little bit about Sun Dogs and enjoy the pictures below! 

Stay warm this week! 

 The information about sun dogs is available from URL:

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