Two Suns

November 27, 2011


Photographer: Hernando Hernandez 
Summary Author: Hernando Hernandez; Jim Foster

The photo above showing what appear to be two Suns just above the horizon was captured near Norfolk, Virginia, about an hour before sunset on August 2, 2011. I was working alongside of the USS Norfolk and noticed what seemed to be a strong reflection of the Sun off the port side of the ship. This phenomenon, known as a sundog, is actually caused by refraction and not reflection. It's also called a mock sun for obvious reason. Mock suns are the brightest of all of the halo phenomena. With exceptionally bright mock suns, such as this one, it's possible to see your shadow. They form when plate-shaped, hexagonal ice crystals, composing cirrus clouds, are oriented horizontally. Such an orientation permits sunlight to pass through alternate side faces of the crystals -- entering one of the side faces and exiting an alternate face.

Photo details: Camera Maker: SAMSUNG; Camera Model: SCH-i920; Focal Length: 4.4mm; Aperture: f/2.8; Exposure Time: 0.0039 s (1/260); ISO equiv: 50; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Center Weight; Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto); White Balance: Auto; Flash Fired: Yes (Auto, return light detected); Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB; Software: CB A3.