Saturday, October 25, 2014

Sun Dog Appears Over Race Point

A sun dog appears in these stacks of thin, wispy, cirrus clouds as the sun descends over Race Point.
A sun dog, sometimes called a mock sun or phantom sun, is an atmospheric event called a parhelion in scientific language. It can give the appearance of a pair of bright spots on either side of the sun, sometimes seen at the left and right edges of a luminous circle, or halo, visible around the sun, with the area inside the halo appearing slightly darker. These halos can appear when flat, hexagonal ice crystals in cirrus clouds are drifting in random orientations, refracting the light and bending the rays that pass through them.
As the crystals sink through the air they become vertically aligned, refracting the light horizontally, which can produce sun dogs, with a reddish color nearest to the sun, and always appearing at the same height above the horizon as the sun, whether or not the complete halo is visible.
This sun dog was seen from the Provincelands Visitor Center, looking out over Race Point as the late-afternoon sun dipped toward the horizon. This phenomenon is easiest to spot when the sun is low in the sky, and it can occur at any time of the year, so if you look out toward Beach Point in the mornings, and Race Point in the afternoons, and if these wisps of thin cirrus clouds are present, you may get lucky and spot a sun dog.

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