Sun Dog

Posted by
Don (Spokane, United States) on 29 May 2010 in Plant & Nature.

I spotted this on my way to coffee this week. The actual sun rise is the bright area in the sky on the right. The bright spots on the left are the Sun Dog. "A sun dog (scientific name parhelion), "beside the sun"; also called a mock sun) is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sundogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low.
Sundogs are formed by plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them by 22°.