How “Diamond Dust” Glistens in the Sky in Below-Freezing Conditions

How “Diamond Dust” Glistens in the Sky in Below-Freezing Conditions

Diamond dust is a meteorological phenomenon wherein incredibly little ice crystals form a cloud in the midst of freezing temperatures. If you can see shimmering haze swirl around the clear sky and the faint glimmer of a rainbow, there’s a strong chance you’re seeing it.

It is precipitation in the same sense as drizzle, rain, sleet, or snow, but differs from its more well-known relatives in a number of ways.

For diamond dust to develop, temperatures must be below zero. When the cooler air near the surface combines with the warmer, slightly humid air above the ground, the water vapor in the air slowly freezes, creating the ice crystals. The end result is a straightforward 6-sided diamond that, when seen collectively, is hardly discernible to the human eye.

According to the World Meteorological Organization, diamond dust can be found in Antarctica and the Arctic, but visibility is only possible when surface temperatures are much below -10 °C (14 °F).

If the weather is cold enough, it’s even possible to see diamond dust in the United States. Many claims of diamond dust have come from the country’s most northern states, including Maine, Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

A typical ice crystal’s diameter is just 0.1 millimeters (100 m), making them incredibly tiny. Additionally, because they are so tiny and light, the ice crystals will slowly float around the sky, resembling hanging mist.

It usually happens when the weather is calm and clear. Because there are no clouds, moonlight or moonlight is frequently blessed onto the diamond dust, which when it hits the mist produces a spectacular shimmering effect.

Additionally, the crystals have the ability to capture light and refract it to create stunning optical phenomena like rainbows and haloes. Sun dogs are remarkable atmospheric optical phenomena that result in brilliant spots appearing on both sides of the Sun, and they can even manufacture them.