Sundog over Lexington

A sundog is a bright spot to the left or right of the sun (usually occurs in pairs) that typically happens around sunset or sunrise in high cirrus clouds.
Sundog Over Lexington

This sundog occurred Friday night over Lexington and there is a companion sundog to the left, but it is out of the frame. The bright spot to the far right is a reflection off our “Big Blue” building.

Sundogs form when a couple unique conditions are present. Cirrus clouds are the atmosphere’s highest clouds and are composed of small ice crystals. These ice crystals are were the sun creates the show.

When the sun is close to the horizon and there’s a significant layer of cirrus clouds, which should be noted are curving towards the horizon, sunlight will do 3 things: 1) be reflected at a predictable location causing the bright spot, 2) refracted at the same spot causing a rainbow, and 3) scattered throughout giving the sundog a general reddish cast.

While not rare, sundogs are uncommon and have been heralded as both good and bad omens by ancient peoples.


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