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Sun Dogs

Sun Dogs

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Good morning. I was wondering if there are any sayings about the significance of a sun dog in the eastern sky, accompanying the rising sun. There was a very bright one this morning as I was coming into work in North Ogden. The colors were quite different from those you see in the western sky.

Thank you, Larry C.


Sundogs form when we have ice crystals in the sky shaped like little hexagons, or what we call, hexagonal plates. These plates line up in such a manner that sunlight is bent as it enters the crystals. We then see some interesting colors in the sky. Sundogs can look pinkish or orange or sometimes you can see all the colors in the prism in the sundog if it's really good. It also depends on where you are standing and what else is in the air (like dust).

I don't think which side of the sky the optical effect is on will make a difference in its color. It's probably more of the other factors listed. Sundogs are most often seen when the sun is low in the sky and are usually reddish on the side closest toward the sun.

Wherever you see the sundog there's ice crystals. Today, Larry says he saw it in the eastern sky. This makes sense, we have high clouds moving over the state, if the sun was in the east and high clouds were near it, you could easily see sundogs on one, or both sides of the sun.

Optical effects are totally cool, they are so worth looking for whenever we have clouds around, especially high ones.

There's a link on the righ to one of the best optics pages out there and you read more about sundogs and other classics like the halo.

Answered by KSL Meteorologist Dina Freedman.

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