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Sun Dogs (Parhelia)

Just a little over 3 years ago, I saw the most amazing sight in the sky. My husband and I were living in an extended stay hotel in Sioux Falls while trying to find a house. It was January and it was cold. We bundled up to run a few errands, walked outside and saw this!

I may have actually thought there were UFOs in the sky...for a split second, or two. Ha! It very quickly fascinated us. We sat and stared at them wondering how there appeared to be 3 suns in the sky! Google quickly came to our aid and informed us of Sun Dogs!

  • "A sun dog (or sundog) or mock sun, formally called a parhelion[1] (plural parhelia) in meteorology, is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that consists of a bright spot to one or both sides of the Sun. Two sun dogs often flank the Sun within a 22° halo." - Wikipedia

  • "Sundogs are formed from hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds or, during very cold weather, by ice crystals drifting in the air at low levels. These crystals act as prisms, bending the light rays passing through them. As the crystals sink through the air they become vertically aligned, refracting the sunlight horizontally so that sundogs are observed." - LiveScience

Here is a pretty good article about Sun Dogs that I would recommend to those who are experiencing Sun Dogs for the first time. This is something I still get exited about every time I see them in the sky.

For those of you new to Sioux Falls, don't forget to let the new experiences (no matter how big or small) be just as exciting as UFOs in the sky!

That night we watched our first Sun Dogs as the sun set and it was one of the most beautiful and memorable skylines that I have ever seen.

Thanks for reading,


Photo Credit: Rhiannon Israel

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