Superior Sundog

March 14, 2014

SuperiorSundog_N1A9353 (3)

Photographer: Shawn Malone
Summary Author: Shawn Malone; Jim Foster

The photo above showing an eye-catching sundog floating above a layer of gauzy sea smoke was captured on Lake Superior’s southern shore near Marquette, Michigan, on January 17, 2014. The Sun is to the right of the sundog or parhelion. You can tell it’s to the right because sundogs are red on their sunward side and because their whitish tails always points away from the Sun. Additionally, note that the sky to the right of the sundog is slightly darker. Sundogs are associated with the 22 degree halo. If the Sun is on the horizon, they’re found 22 degrees from the Sun and at the same altitude, but as the Sun climbs in the sky the sundogs move further and further away. When the 22 degree halo is present the ice prisms that cause it don’t readily scatter sunlight into the region near the Sun – the region within 22 degrees of it. Sea smoke is fog that results when cold air moves over water that’s markedly warmer.