Sun Dogs

Sun Dogs

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Credit: ADAM JONES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Sun dogs, or mock suns, are technically called solar parhelia (parhelia meaning with the sun) and appear as bright bursts of light formed when sunlight passes through ice crystals at the proper angle. Usually, cirrus clouds in front of the sun produce sun dogs but other ice clouds may also generate them. Sun dogs are sometimes so brilliant that dazzled observers mistake them for the sun. They are often bright white but may show a partial spectrum of colour with the red wavelengths on the edge nearest the sun. Sun dogs often have comet-like appearance with a bluish-white tail facing away from the sun.

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Keywords: atmospheric effect, climate, effects, ice crystal, meteorology, mock sun, parhelia, refracted light, refraction of light, solar parhelia, sun dogs, sunlight, weather, weather phenomena, winter, winter skies, winter sky

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