What’s a Sundog and Do They Exist in Colorado?
Double rainbows, snow pillars, and contrail shadows are just a few of the interesting examples of sky phenomena that can occur in Colorado - but have you ever heard of a sundog, and do these happen here too?
Denver meteorologists say yes and they are quite a sight to see. Coloradans would most likely witness a sundog on a cold winter's day.
According to the National Weather Service, sundogs are colorful displays caused by the refraction of light through tiny ice crystals. Sundogs are located approximately 22 degrees either left, right, or both, from the sun, depending on where the ice crystals are present. This atmospheric optical phenomenon can show up during sunrise and sunset, but sometimes only one is visible beside the sun.
The tiny bursts appear as mini rainbow prisms, with colors ranging from deep red to violet. The red hue is typically closest to the sun, while the blue coloring is on the outermost part.
Another name for sundogs is parhelia, which means "with the sun" in Greek. They can also be referred to as mock suns due to their appearance next to the real thing.