sundog closeup
  • Sundogs (or sun dogs) are also called mock suns or phantom suns. Their scientific name is parhelia (singular parhelion), which is Greek for “besides the sun.”
  • Sundogs are an atmospheric phenomenon that consists of a pair of bright spots on either horizontal side of the Sun.
  • Sundogs often appear along with a luminous ring known as a 22° halo.
  • A sundog is born when airborne ice crystals, called diamond dust, act as prisms and bend sunlight.
  • Sundogs can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright.
  • Sundogs are also more frequently seen in the winter months than during other seasons.
  • Moondogs (also called mock moons or paraselene), a sister phenomenon to sundogs, occur in the night sky.

Sundog at Stonehenge by Timdaw

Sundog at Stonehenge [photo source: By Timdaw — “I took this photograph at Stonehenge myself,” says Timdaw. Previously published:, CC BY-SA 3.0,]

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