Monday, February 7, 2011

Sun Dogs

This is something most of us will never see and it is dramatic and well worth it.  Enjoy the pictures.

The sun as you rarely see it... through millions of ice crystals called diamond dust

Last updated at 8:25 AM on 12th January 2011

This amazing sunset with a difference is a phenomenon than can arise when you view the sun through millions of ice crystals.

As water freezes in the upper atmosphere, millions of small, six-sided ice crystals - known as diamond dust - flutter to the ground.

And at the approach of either sunrise or sunset, this is what an observer passing through the same plane as the falling crystals will see.

Sunset with a difference: This dazzling halo was taken in Stockholm, Sweden, with the sun at the centre and two bright sundogs glowing on the left and right

Each crystal acts like a miniature lens, refracting the eye's view of sunlight and creating the phenomena known as sundogs.

The dramatic effect is also referred to a mock sun or a phantom sun.

This sun halo image was taken in Stockholm, Sweden, with the sun in the centre while two bright sundogs glow prominently from the left and the right.

Also visible is a bright 22 degree halo - as well as the rarer and much fainter 46 degree halo - also created by sunlight reflecting off atmospheric ice crystals. 

Sundogs can be seen around the world as long as the conditions are suitable.

Sundogs: Famous painting Vädersolstavlan believed to be the oldest picture of the phenomena - and the first landscape portrait of Stockholm

A famous Swedish painting from Stockholm in 1535 called Vädersolstavlan is thought to be the earliest ever picture of the natural phenomena.

It is also the oldest landscape painting of Stockholm - although the original by Urban Målare is thought to have been destroyed long ago.

However, a 1636 copy by Jacob Heinrich Elbfas is thought to be an accurate recreation of the original and has been restored in recent years.

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