The dogs of a cold day

FTLComm - Regina - Tuesday, March 4, 2003 Images by Ken Jones
The phenomena of sun dogs usually involves two bright vertical bands of light on each side of the sun on a cold winter day. Low altitude ice crystals, frozen water vapour, refract the sun's light producing what is essentially a rainbow. However, the actual phenomena when seen from above is a full halo. A rainbow is of course the same process of the water droplets from a shower breaking the light into its colours and it too is a full halo but from the surface we most often see only a band of coloured light reaching up from the surface to the rain clouds above.

Ken Jones of Regina had his camera ready yesterday morning with temperatures well below -30ºC in Regina and a stiff wind taking the actual wind chill factor well below -40º. With such cold air, any and all water is frozen in the atmosphere and this produces sun dogs. In Ken's situation, he had the rare change to catch the full circle of light visible around the sun.
The utterly remarkable images definitely inform us of our celestial place, that we are on a small planet that our Sun is out there beaming light out into the universe and the low temperature on our location on the planet's surface allows the light to fractured into its components.

The three pictures above were taken yesterday and this one was taken this morning with the sun slightly higher in the morning sky.

In the arctic desert of Canada's north the phenomena of sun dogs is remarkably common but at our latitude only possible for a few months each year. Because of the very warm winters in the past few years we have only seen these sky paintings a few times but this morning they were so prominent that the Ensign Web Cam actual was showing conventional side by side sun dogs around 9:00AM this morning.

Timothy W. Shire



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Editor : Timothy W. Shire
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