Sun Dog near Lovettsville, Virginia, USA, 25 September 2009
Click on photo to enlarge.
On my way home from work last Friday, as I drove through Virginia’s horse and wine country, I spotted a Sun Dog low in the sky. Quickly, I pulled onto a side road and took this photo. In my neck of the woods I usually see most Sun Dogs during the winter months because they are formed by ice crystal (diamond dust) in the air at low levels. In truth, they can be seen all through the year but I don’t think to look for them during the warmer months. During that time they seem to be higher in the sky where the colder air is found.
The scientific name is “parhelion” meaning “beside the sun” and they can be either on the right, left or both sides of the sun. Sometimes when I have seen two of them, one will be brighter than the other. They are always at the same level in the horizon as the sun.
In the photo you can see the typical colored patch of light with the reddish side closest to the sun and the other side fading into blue or as picked up on my camera, white. They are a type of ice halo. I neglected to take a photo of the sun and the Sun Dog in one shot because I was in a hurry to continue toward home to feed my own dog.
Go and check out more Skywatch images at the Skywatch Site!