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Phillip’s Weather Trivia: Bright rainbow spots on either side of the sun?

The sun provides a variety of optics, some can help forecast
Published: Jan. 6, 2022 at 1:24 PM EST
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GREENVILLE, N.C. (WITN) - Several days of the year, we are able to look up and see rainbow pieces on either side of the sun. They are typically a few hald widths out from the sun when you hold your arm out straight. Sometimes these bright spots can appear above and below the sun as well. Throughout history, various cultures assigned them meaning. So what are these sun optics called? Check out the question and the multiple choice answers below and make your selection.

Phillip's Weather Trivia Question Jan 6
Phillip's Weather Trivia Question Jan 6(WITN)

I can offer one hint. A dream catcher is supposed to catch dreams, but I’ve never heard of a sun catcher. I just threw that in to make a 4th option, so don’t choose that one.

Phillip's Weather Trivia Answer Jan 6
Phillip's Weather Trivia Answer Jan 6(WITN)

These rainbow looking pieces of light on either side of the sun are called Sun Dogs. They form when sunlight shines through a cirrus cloud. Cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals and the light is refracted to form these optics. These form then the sunlight makes a 22 degree halo. Native Americans believed these optics would bring about change. In meteorology, we know Sun Dogs often preceed storm systems since winter systems have cirrus clouds advance well ahead of the rain and snow.

In Greek Mythology, it is believed the God Zeus would walk his dogs across the sky and these bright spots were said to be his dogs. This is where the name is said to have originated. - Phillip Williams

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