April 11, 2002
Early morning sundogs or parhelia (false suns), indicate that these wispy clouds are home to horizontally oriented plate-like ice crystals. The plates drift down like leaves with their large faces nearly horizontal. The sundogs are formed by light passing through crystal side faces inclined at 60° to each other. These ordinary parhelia appear 22 degrees on either side of the sun. Additional reflections in atmospheric ice crystals can lead to more exotic atmospheric phenomena as described in the links below.