Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Sundogs are Back

Last year I posted many shots of morning and early afternoon sundogs. If you want to see them, click on
'Sun dogs' under the Labels in the right columns. I'm using a new camera this year and it seems to leave dots of light on my photos - other than the actual sundog effect - so please ignore those.

Those brilliant sundogs are back. I saw my first one of this season last week and tweeted about it. This was the photo included with that tweet:

Sundog south of Montmartre, SK. Nov 18, 2011 3:45 pm

The strange part about that sundog was that it appeared in the late afternoon, 2 hrs before sunset. Usually I'll see them between dawn and 2 pm. But it depends on the ice crystals in the air and at the time the above photo was taken, the distant trees were shimmery.

Then on Sunday, Nov 20th, we'd just left the house for church and I saw what I've come to call the 'Bethlehem Star' effect. I have no idea what the scientific or common name for this is, but I think the Bethlehem Star effect is self-explanatory. Look for yourself...

South of Montmartre, SK on Francis grid, Nov 20, 2011 9:38 am

I've posted photos previously that show a magnificent white light below the sun, but this is the first time I've seen such a concentration beam straight down. What confused me was the lack of the sundog effect at this time. No mini rainbows or mini suns or either side of the actual sun itself - just this Bethlehem Star effect.

Then ten minutes later, Nelson said, "There's your sundog." Sure enough, this is what i saw...

South of Montmartre, SK on Francis grid, Nov 20, 2011 9:38 am

The curved lights on either side of the photo is the actual sundog, however please ignore all the other spots on the photos. I have a new camera and it doesn't cover the lens when it's shut off. It's a Nikon CoolPix P500 and I'm supposed to keep the lens cap on but I'm so used to putting it on and shooting, that uncapping it slows me down. Which means I've gotten into the bad habit of leaving it off. So yes, the inner dots are probably dust on the lens.
So, does anyone know the actual name for what I call the Bethlehem Star effect?

And in case you're interested, I'm blogging about 19th century children's sleighs at Inkwell Inspirations today.

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