Written by Greg Youkov
If you’re lucky enough to live in Rutland County, Vermont, you may have already witnessed some of the incredible natural phenomena that can occur in the winter skies. From sun dogs to iridescent clouds, lenticular clouds to inversions, and everything in between, the winter months can be a truly magical time for skywatchers in this part of the world.
Sun dogs, also known as mock suns or parhelia, are a type of atmospheric optical phenomenon that occurs when sunlight is refracted by ice crystals in the air. This creates two bright spots on either side of the sun that appear to be miniature suns. Sun dogs are most commonly seen when the sun is low on the horizon, such as during sunrise or sunset.
Light pillars are another stunning and rare phenomenon that can be observed in the sky over Rutland County, Vermont during the winter months. These vertical columns of light are caused by the reflection of light from ice crystals in the air. They typically appear as a series of bright, colorful beams of light that extend upwards from the ground.
A solar halo, also known as a 22-degree halo, is a rare optical phenomenon that occurs when sunlight is refracted by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere. This creates a circular ring of light around the sun that is typically white or slightly colored. Solar halos are most commonly seen when the sun is low on the horizon, such as during sunrise or sunset.
Iridescent clouds are a rare and beautiful phenomenon that can be observed in the sky over Rutland County, Vermont during the winter months. These clouds appear to be iridescent, meaning they display a rainbow of colors when the sun is shining on them at just the right angle. Iridescent clouds are most commonly seen in altocumulus, cirrocumulus, and lenticular clouds.
Lenticular clouds are a type of cloud that is often mistaken for a UFO due to their disc-like shape. These clouds are typically formed by strong winds that flow over mountains or other elevated terrains, causing the air to condense and form a cloud. Lenticular clouds are most commonly seen over mountainous areas such as the Green Mountains in Vermont.
Inversions are a weather phenomenon that can occur in winter months in Rutland County, Vermont. Inversions occur when a layer of warm air is trapped beneath a layer of cold air, resulting in a temperature inversion. This can cause fog, mist, and even smog to form in the valley areas, while the mountains remain clear and sunny. Inversions can create a surreal and dreamy landscape that is perfect for photography and contemplation.
The winter skies over Rutland County, Vermont, are truly a wonder to behold. From sun dogs to light pillars, solar halos to iridescent clouds, and lenticular clouds to inversions, the skies can be a breathtaking and mystical landscape that never fails to awe and inspire. Each of these rare events is a testament to the beauty and complexity of our planet’s atmosphere. Whether you’re a seasoned skywatcher or simply an admirer of nature’s wonders, be sure to keep an eye out for these stunning phenomena the next time you’re out and about in Rutland County during the winter season. If you have questions about the area, connect with us here!