What is a sun dog? Polar vortex brings atmospheric phenomenon to the Midwest

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. — As the country began its plummet into a once-in-a-generational cold snap, the sun provided a unique silver lining. 

Two large bright spots flanked the sun in Sioux Falls and across the region on Tuesday morning. The atmospheric phenomenon is called sun dogs. 

Andrew Kalin with the National Weather Service said that the atmospheric phenomenon appears when sunlight refracts off of ice crystals in the atmosphere — and at temperatures like those we have today, there are plenty of ice crystals.

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