This effect is called a "sun dog," and no one really knows why

By Alex Heigl
January 21, 2014 10:00 AM

Admittedly, the term “sun dog” didn’t bring this image to mind.

And further research failed to reveal why this curious halo effect around the sun is called a “sun dog.”

That said, it sure is a wonder to behold.

Sun dogs are known more scientifically as parhelia. They occur when the sun (or in some cases, the moon) shines through a thin cloud of ice particles.

Valera Yangurazov was lucky enough to catch the beautiful atmospheric effect during his commute in Moscow where the outside temperature was about 4 below zero.

As for how sun dogs got their name, – the OED claims the term is of “obscure origin.”

So, while Russia enjoys its cool atmospheric phenomena, we have to spend our freezing winters playing with water guns and frozen T-shirts.

Some places have all the luck.

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