Sun Dogs and Parhelic Circles!

We had some pretty spectacular atmospheric optical phenomena going on this afternoon. Just past noon here in Exeter, I received a text from a fellow science teacher (Scott Saltman) telling me to go out, look up, and bring a camera.  I grabbed a 16mm fisheye and camera with tripod and ran out to find a glorious sky.  Sun dogs are not all that uncommon here in NH, and we usually see them at this time of year, when ice crystals form high in the atmosphere and provide great solar reflections.  Seeing larger arcs, though, is not all that common here. Around the sun was a common 22 degree halo and two sun dogs (parhelia). Passing through the parhelia was an all-sky encompassing parhelic circle! There was also a brighter upper tangent arc – something we very rarely see!  All of this is caused by upper atmospheric ice crystals reflecting the sunlight.  More here if you are so inclined: http://www.atoptics.co.uk/halo/common.htm  The two images below were taken using a Nikon D810a, 16mm fisheye.

2016oct8-sun1 2016oct8-sun2

 

 

About johnb

- Director of Grainger Observatory, Phillips Exeter Academy. - Variable-star-crazed astronomer, but have done research in other areas. - Drummer, archer, pilot, chef, friend, pet owner, husband, father, Train-nut.
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