Friday, January 14, 2011

What is a sundog, you ask?

I received a comment from Josi yesterday on my Bunkering Down post. Josi wanted to know what a sundog was so here's my answer:

Sundogs (also called mock suns) are a phenomena we see several times a winter. They are caused by light refracting through ice crystals and are usually in very cold weather, or in not-so cold weather but where there's lots of ice crystals in the air - you know, the kind that turn the trees white. Although the twin mock suns on either side are the actual sundogs, the whole thing is commonly called a sundog in these parts much like a ring around the moon is called a moondog.

Usually a sundog is close to the horizon, like in the photo I showed yesterday or in some of my previous sunrise pics. However last year, I took several photos of one at noon on our way back from church. I wouldn't even have noticed it except for the bright light at ground level which peaked my curiosity so I followed it upwards.

Taken Feb 7, 2010

What made this sundog special was that it had twin sundogs on each side. In other words, it had a double ring around it. So in my posts, I've referred to it as a double sundog:

Double ring Sundog Feb 7, 2010

For more of my sundog photos, check the LABELS on the right side of this blog.

I've even turned some of my sundog photos into  jigsaw puzzles.

Next time it's a cold morning, see if you can see a sundog.

Thanks for asking, Josi. :)


  1. I've seen that phenomenon, Anita, especially when I lived in Vermont, but I don't think anyone here in the U.S. calls it that. Thanks for the info!

  2. You're welcome, Josi. I know they have them in Ohio too because when I googled sundogs some gorgeous Ohio photos showed up.

    I've never been to Vermont but I sure would like to go some fall.

    Anita Mae.


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