PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Keep an eye on the sky, because you never know what you might see overhead! That was the case Wednesday afternoon over Portland.

High, thin cirrus clouds made out of ice crystals helped refract light into two soft glowing spots on either side of the sun over Portland.

Sundog explainer

Despite warmer temperatures found in Portland Wednesday afternoon, those high and thin clouds near the top of the troposphere and sometimes in the stratosphere sit in a layer of below-freezing conditions. Cirrus clouds are made up of water vapor that freezes at high altitudes.

Sundogs are typically more visible in colder climates but can happen in the Pacific Northwest if the sun angle is just right.

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Cloud types, courtesy of the National Weather Service

The sun rays are able to move through these high, thin and icy clouds. The icy water vapor is shaped hexagonally. As the light passes through these hexagonal-shaped ice crystals, it refracts or bends at an angle of 22 degrees. By the time the light makes it to our eyes, it appears as two soft glowing lights on either side of the sun.