Brilliant Sun Dogs, contrails and a UFO? - too much excitement for one afternoon! Caught these intense sun dogs on my cell phone camera late Friday afternoon (1/17/2014) near sunset. Fortunate to have a strategic palm tree to shield the intense sun! A sun dog (or sundog), mock sun or phantom sun, scientific name parhelion (plural parhelia), is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun as in this classic case. Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun. Sundogs are commonly made by the refraction of light from plate-shaped hexagonal ice crystals in high and cold cirrus clouds and are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low as can be seen in the photos and video. The "UFO effect" that develops during the video is most likely caused by over-saturation of the camera sensor by the intense solar radiation.
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