The Sundog

life in a village, northern exposures

We went for a nature walk today. We all wanted to get out into the sunlight, and honestly I didn’t know what our focus would be other than escape. The students began gesticulating. “Dave, take a picture of that!” Marvelous heavens, three suns! I had no words, no explanation until Tessa offered, “It’s a sundog it’ll probably turn cold tomorrow.” Lore passed down through her family perhaps and forgotten by most. I took many photographs of it and when we returned to class we looked it up. Refraction of light by very fine hexagonal ice crystals in the air causes two ghost lights flanking the sun about 22 degrees to each side of it.  There is a fascinating history of it here and a more technical explanation here. Aristotle observed them and called them mock suns. Cicero and Seneca and Archimedes wrote of them, too. Today we shared a vision with the great men of history!


9 thoughts on “The Sundog

    1. You’re having such nice springtime there. But things are really warming up here. And it is already March! All the snow will be melting off in another 5 or 6 weeks. We’re going to start growing plants in our classroom this week.

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