Sundog at Sunset

sundog atmospheric optics

This is a sundog. Like a little round rainbow, red side towards the sun.

How are the sundogs doing where you live? We seem to have loads at the moment. In the picture above the sun is way over to the west outside the frame of the picture.

The photo below shows the real sun lurking behind clouds to the right of that chimney.

( A sun dog is also known as a mock sun, false sun, or the 22° parhelia. )

If you want to know more about them visit Atmospheric Optics and revel in the images that are sent there from all over the world; for how sundogs are made and some extraordinary images click here, and don’t forget to explore the rest of this fabulous site. Have you ever wondered why light forms strange lines (caustics)  in water?  And whether that strange black halo round the moon is caused by aliens?  Many of the answers are on Les Cowley’s site. Here is a link to his gallery of images. When I grow up I’m going to take photos like these…

There are more things in heaven and earth……

19 thoughts on “Sundog at Sunset

  1. heidiannie

    Those pictures are gorgeous!
    We always seem to have them- out over Lake Erie.
    When my husband and I lived in Edmonton, Alberta (many long years ago, now) there were so many things to see in the skies. Sundogs, Northern lights,frozen ice clouds that shimmered over the city in the sub zero temperatures- the sky seemed to much bigger and brighter there- and not hemmed in by trees and buildings to impair your vision.
    Or maybe I was just much younger and more inclined to go out at night in the cold and gaze at the heavens. :)

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      You lived in Edmonton? My best friend lived there, she has passed away now. I used to visit there every couple of years and I have seen those ice clouds over the city and the ghosts the cars leave behind in cold weather and it was the first place I ever saw a sundog…. such memories you bring back, thank you Heidi :)

      1. heidiannie

        Thank you, Joanna- you stirred my memories with the first link you put up. My husband is Canadian and our first years were spent in NW Canada- I still think of the cars plugged in over night and the funny bump,bump of the tires that had been frozen slightly flat on the bottom until the friction of the road warmed them up into a round shape again.
        This was really interesting- great post!

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          Heidi I loved Edmonton at Christmas with all the buildings illuminated in thousands of rows of fairy lights. So cold though… brrr… I liked the hot springs in the mountains too !

  2. drfugawe

    Oh my! And I always thought this sight was best described as the sun trying to shine through the clouds. I’m afraid I can’t consume my science in such huge gulps.

    Fascinating stuff.

  3. cityhippyfarmgirl

    Oh you make me want to take the camera and go hunting. I’ve never heard of sundogs, but so interesting to read about them. Some of those pictures from the links were quite Dr Who… and I love Dr Who :-)

  4. azélias kitchen

    Nope never heard of sundog either Joanna…what gorgeous photos.

    When I was a teenager I use to paint a lot with oils mainly landscapes and I always thought been a great admirer of the sky that sometimes if you painted what you saw I don’t think a lot of people would believe it was real…and probably think it was an artistic interpretation.

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Azelia I think you are right there. I’m not very good at photographing the sky, I think you need filters and a bit more knowledge than I have, but I have always liked looking out for comets and shooting stars and that sort of thing. Must be from reading loads of sci fi when I was younger…. and watching Dr Who, like Brydie says! @ Debra I don’t know if you see sundogs in Australia, but if you don’t I’m sure you get all sorts of other wild things happening there :P

  5. gina

    dear joanna, there are always wonderful things in heaven and earth to see and to perceive! thx for your interesting post about sundogs; i had never heard of them before! i mostly take snapshots of dramatically beautiful cloud shadows, i’m going to check out all the interesting links you inserted and whether we have sundogs here at: 36° 53′ 35″ N / 27° 17′ 20″ E ! (hellenic islands). then i’ll try to post sth for you!

    1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

      Heehee Gina I just cut and pasted your co – ordinates into Google and ended up on the CIA site… Which group of Hellenic Islands do you live in? I haven’t visited for a good many years but once upon a time I spent a winter there, picking olives and washing taverna floors and so on…. I remember flying across the islands very early on a summer’s morning and seeing Homer’s wine dark sea, a real treat once on my way home to London where I used to live. Thanks for visiting me, look forward to seeing your photos too :)

      1. gina

        :)D LOL! kos island, southeast aegean sea, dodecanese islands my dearest! hey joanna, it was some time ago when i was reading your blog and i discovered a poetry link, — ah was it vol de nuit! i have to do some extra lovely reading :) thx for all the inspiration that you give to us! i feel thankful for all this info i read thru your blog, celia’s, sally’s etc. i always love to discover the magic of our earthly life!

        1. Joanna @ Zeb Bakes Post author

          I never made it to the Dodecanese but one day maybe I will get there. I think my last visit to Hellenica was when we went bird watching on Lesvos, squacco herons, glossy ibis, stilts, and cranes and other wonderful wildlife… I should come back. One of the many sentences I learnt verbatim Έλα εδώ παρακαλώ δεσποινίς LOL (I cheated and used Google to translate what I can say in Greek, but I can’t write it, I’m functionally illiterate in Greek)

  6. Christine

    What an interesting illusion! I’ve never seen a sundog before…or perhaps I have and haven’t realised what it was. Love your first picture there :)

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