Your Pictures: Tuesday’s Sun Dogs/Sun Halos

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(WHNT) – A rather stunning sight occurred over the Tennessee Valley on Tuesday, October 30, thanks in part to high cirrus clouds that have been moving into the area on the backside of Post-Tropical Cyclone Sandy. Cirrus clouds are made up of millions of hexagonal ice crystals that refract the sunlight causing a 22 degree halo around the sun. 

Something even more rare than a sun halo is a circumzenithal arc which is also an optical phenomenon that occurs when ice crystals refract sunlight in high clouds, but the ice crystals have to be horizontally oriented. When this occurs it forms no more than one quarter of a circle that is on the zenith and on the same side as the sun. Sun dogs are basically the same thing as circumzenithal arcs, but not on the zenith. All three optical phenomenons have been seen Tuesday, which is a pretty rare event to see all three at one time!  Read more about the sun halos on

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