Sundog With Bright Tail

April 07, 2004

Bryansun copy

Provided by: Charles Bryan
Summary authors & editors: Charles Bryan; Jim Foster

The photo above showing a striking sundog was taken at approximately 5:15 p.m. in late February, 2004 from West Asheville, North Carolina. Sundogs or parhelia are found on either side of the Sun at a distance of 22 degrees from the Sun -- about two fists held at arm's length. They result from refraction in hexagonal ice crystals (plate-shaped crystals) that are predominantly horizontally-oriented. They're the brightest and most common form of halo that originates in oriented crystals. While on occasion, an extended tail can be seen on a sundog, this one is exceedingly bright.

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