Over the past few weeks, it has been bitter cold, and that cold arctic air has been creating truly impressive weather phenomena across Central PA. Some viewers were able to capture it while it happened.
Sun Dogs, otherwise known as parhelia, are sunlight reflecting off ice crystals in the sky. These crystals will then form a halo around the sun.
Usually to the left and right side of the sun at a 22 degree angle, you’ll find patches of light or rainbows, formed from the ice crystals. Most of the ice crystals are found in cirrus clouds or cirrostratus clouds.
Light Pillars, similar to Sun Dogs, are caused by sunlight reflecting off of ice crystals. These ice crystals are found floating through the sky, which creates the vertical column of light. Typically, you will see these around sunrise or sunset.
Ice disks or ice circles are created when a thin layer of ice forms over moving water. Underneath the sheet of ice, there is a whirlpool effect in the water, slowly spinning the ice. This will break off a chunk of the ice, but continue spinning the chunk, creating a perfect circle . It is rare to see as it only happens during the winter when it is frigid.
If you happen to see a sun dog, light pillar, or ice disk, snap a photo and make sure to share with us!