Friday, January 13, 2017

Sundogs and More

While driving home, I had the opportunity to see sun dogs guarding the sun. You may need to click on the images to see them in full.

Sun dogs are called Parhelia, which means, "beside the sun". Parhelia are the bright spots 22 degrees on either side of the sun. They are formed when sunlight  retracts through ice crystals suspended in the air.

Parhelia on the left and right sides of the sun.
Notice that the sun dogs are bright spots within the 22 degree halo centered on the sun. In addition, there appears to a faint Sun Pillar rising above the sun and a horizontal arc running between both sun dogs and the sun. The horizontal arc is called the Circumhorizontal Arc.

Above the sun was the Circumzenithal Arc shown below.

The Circumzenithal Arc visible above the sun.

The Circumzenithal Arc is tangent to a 46 degree radius arc centered on the sun. Below is a close-up of the Circumzenithal Arc.

The Circumzenithal Arc just touches and is tangent to the 46 degree halo surrounding the sun.

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