Monday, December 22, 2008

Dogs are barkin'

If you live anywhere in the northern U.S. or Canada, then you're probably just as sick and tired of this brutal weather as I am. I truly am beginning to develop a hatred... a very deep one at that. However, if there's one thing that keeps my spirits lifted, it's having the sunshine, even though it's cold enough to numb out my face within seconds. And with this sunshine and cold weather cocktail, it creates prime conditions for sundogs. Sundogs are somewhat of a rare sight, and are defined as bright spots on either, or both sides of the sun. They also occur (less brightly) around the moon. Of course, they are called moon dogs. Sundogs are images of the sun formed as a result of light bending through tiny, floating ice crystals in the air or high clouds. The ice crystals are shaped like plates falling in such a way that the flat surfaces are facing parallel to the Earth. Sunlight enters at one side, bends, then bends again as it exits. This light refraction creates an image of the sun at approximately 22° to the left and/or right of the sun. To see the brightest and most brilliant ones, look up on a cold sunny morning or evening, when the sun is near the horizon and the air is loaded with ice crystals. Spotting sundogs and other sky phenomena like halos and rings often means rain or snow will arrive within 18 to 36 hours. Beauty in the sky leads to crap falling from it... Well maybe not crap, but dang I'm gettin sick of this snow!

Nerdy detailed schematic here, and a couple other sundog photos here, and here