My son loves rainbows, so when we saw this sundog rainbow the other day, it kept his attention for quite some time. His room faces East, so most mornings he is able to enjoy the sunrise… Because, as most toddlers are, he is often up before the day dawns.
Sundog – Rainbow – Sunrise?
Is this really an uncommon occurance? If you aren’t familiar with sundogs, I’ll share some weather links at the end of this post. But, to summarize, they are an iridescent shine, or rainbow, seen to the left and right of the sun, formed from clouds which are heavy with ice crystals. In short, it’s typically a winter rainbow, if you want to oversimplify things.
Why do we find rainbows so interesting, after all? Well, there’s the story of Noah’s Ark, with the rainbow being a promise. There’s the science behind the natural phenomenon of a rainbow (sunrise though?). And the sun rising signals a new day, a fresh start, the return of warmth (usually).
And here is a close up view of the sundog (rainbow sunrise). Not really all that spectacular, so far as a full-blown sundog rainbow goes, but rainbows without rain, during winter, aren’t all that common so I’m giving myself a little leeway to be excited along with my toddler. There’s something about immersing yourself in their world that makes things suddenly seem infinitely more interesting.
Aren’t winter sunrises inspiring, even without a sundog rainbow? Since my toddler started waking before the late winter dawn, I’ve grown more fond of seeing the sun’s rays slowly rise over the earth fill the day with warmth and brightness. Well, at least the perception of warmth, huh.
Here is a view of the sunrise through the trees on this cold morning. I love how frost coats the branches on mornings like this. At the same time, I’m glad my morning commute only involves a couple flights of stairs, and doesn’t require venturing outside. I think it was single digits, temperature-wise.
Finally, the sunrise on the snow. Almost looks like an artic nature scene rather than something in our backyard. Nature photography really reminds me to see the beauty in everyday things, the ordinary miracles that get passed over during the rush to get everything done.
Sundog Rainbow Phenomenon
So, is it really a sundog rainbow, or even a rainbow? Here are some weather links to explain the sundog (rainbow) phenomenon, which doesn’t always look like a rainbow, but sometimes just like a bright sun spot, or second sun.
- Sundog Rainbow – The Weather Notebook
- Sundogs – University of Illinois
- Weather Phenomena – Sundog, Rainbow – Planet Pals (a kid friendly site)
Have you had the opportunity to experience a sundog “rainbow”? I’ve seen a number of them, usually during the winter when it is very cold, and usually during the morning. I hear that if the moon shines brightly enough during the right weather conditions, there is even a rare chance to see a moondog. Pretty neat.