SUNDOGS: How are they formed? - KMSP-TV

SUNDOGS: How are they formed?

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Meteorologist Steve Frazier Meteorologist Steve Frazier

If there is a bright spot to this bitter cold, it's the chance to see sun dogs. In fact, you need a bright sky and some really cold conditions for the dogs to be at their best. We have all of the above during this arctic blast, so get out and look for those sundogs.


How are they formed you ask? It's really quite simple; it all has to do with the refraction of light. Think of it this way, the ice crystals in the air are acting like a prism and refracting the light from the sun. The ice crystals are often nicknamed "Diamond Dust", and are the particles that refract the light. When we see these images in the sky, we are actually looking at a prism effect. A bright halo forms around the sun and the famous sun dogs appear as beaming globes of light on either side of the sun. The diagram below gives a great illustration of this.

Also, check out our gallery of sundogs at the link below….

Keep sending in those pics. We love them!

We would love to see your weather photos! Email them to . Also I hope you will LIKE my Facebook page!/SteveFrazierFox9Kmsp and follow me on Twitter at @FrazierFox9 . Thanks for watching! FRAZIER



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