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‘Sun Dog’ spotted over Borderland skies

As temperatures Wednesday soared into triple-digit range to give El Paso its hottest day of the year, atmospheric conditions also caused the creation of a so-called “sun dog” over the skies of the Borderland.

Numerous viewers called and emailed ABC-7 after spotting the “sun dog.”

The National Weather Service says the weather phenomenon forms “from the refraction of sun light by ice crystals in the atmosphere.”

The NWS indicates that “sun dogs” commonly occur with high clouds that are 18,000 feet in the atmosphere or above, but many people don’t know what they’re looking at.

Anytime an area has high clouds, there’s a potential to see “sun dogs,” according to the weather service, because most high clouds are high enough that they’re frozen.

“Sun dogs” occur near the sun and usually appear as patches of bright light; sometimes they manifest as halos of light around the sun. It’s thought the weather phenomenon occurs “because they follow the sun like a dog follows its master,” according to Live Science.

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