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Icy clouds provide easel for brilliant sun halos over Seattle

A sun halo appears just after sunrise near Seattle. (Photo: Zach Heistand)

SEATTLE -- If you were up early Wednesday morning, you might have been treated to a rather brilliant show in the skies near the sun.

Photos from around the region showed a rather bright halo around the sun, with stunning sun dogs flanking either side and even a tangent arc on the top.

The halos are caused by the ice crystals in those thin, high clouds. The sunlight gets refracted by those ice crystals, making the colors of the rainbow.

The awesome site Atmospheric Optics has more details on how each of the halos are formed.

Even more rare is a circumhorizontal arc -- and "Russ and Mira" from Whidbey Island managed to capture both that arc with the halo!


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