*Sun Dogs*

Monday morning, March 7th, a bit after daybreak, as the sun rose, something cool happened around the sun. I took this picture to the right of a Sun Dog over Cadillac at 7:25a.m. The Sun Dog is in the right-third of the picture just above the treeline. It looks like a “glare” on the lens. We had a halo around the sun. Or I should say a partial halo with “bursts of light”. This phenomenon is called “Sun Dog”. Sometimes it is a complete halo, but most of the time, just partial. Sun dogs are technically called “solar parhelia”. They appear as bright bursts of light in the 3 o’clock and 9 o’clock positions in the halo. On a full halo, another burst of light will be in the 12 o’clock position. They are formed when sunlight passes through, at the proper angle, and refracted through the horizontally oriented, flat ice crystals associated mainly with cirrus clouds. Sun Dogs typically appear when the sun is low to the horizon, just prior to sunset or just after sunrise and mostly during the winter months here. What is unique is that each Sun Dog is separated from the sun by 22 degrees and both will lie on the circle of the 22 degree halo if the halo is present when the sun is near the horizon. When the sun rises to above 61 degrees, the Sun Dogs disappear altogether. There are also Moon Dogs that are more rare than Sun Dogs because the moon light has to be extremely bright to produce the bursts of light. If you have the opportunity to take a picture of Sun Dogs (or Moon Dogs, for that matter), please email them to us using our webshooter link above.