Many of us have seen a 22-degree halo, that surreal circle of rainbow-coloured light around the sun, in real life. Some of us have seen a sun pillar in real life. A lucky few have seen a sun dog in real life. But I doubt any of you have seen them all of these super rare phenomena — and more! — in one sunrise.
The above photograph was taken in Red River, New Mexico by Joshua Thomas on January 9 and provided to the National Weather Service in Amarillo, Texas, who posted it to Facebook. While the snowscape itself is beautiful in its own rite, the sky looks simply alien. How could one sun produce so many different optical illusions at once? There’s a 22º halo, a sun pillar, a sun dog, infralateral arcs, supralateral arcs, and more! The NWS in La Cross, Wisconsin was nice enough to annotate the phenomena: