Iowa’s Unusually Cold Temperatures Have Had A Unique And Rare Side Effect

You might have noticed that every winter, some of Iowa’s sunrises and sunsets start to take on a strange characteristic — as the sun rises or sets, a halo appears and two other balls of light appear on each side of the sun! This is called a “sun dog,” and it only happens when the air is cold enough for ice crystals to form in the atmosphere. When diamond dust — or flat ice crystals — are found in cirrus clouds, halos and sun dogs appear. When they’re randomly oriented, halos appear, and when they happen to have their flat faces horizontally, sundogs appear. Because of how cold it’s been in Iowa, we’ve been seeing them all the time! Check out some recent photos of the phenomenon below.

We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:

Have you seen any amazing sundogs lately? Be sure to share your best sundog photos with us on our new (secret!) Facebook group, Iowa Nature Lovers! Click here to request to join the group, where you’ll find great photos and discussion of Iowa’s natural beauty.