Sun Dog Days

IMG_0161In Southern Ontario, this time of year is characterised by wild weather swings. The day before yesterday it got up to 20ºC (68ºF) and everyone was out in their gardens in shorts. Then this morning we woke to heavy, wet, commute-disrupting snow.

Yet winter is most definitely nearly over, and the flowers are finally starting to appear.


But as we look forward to the warmth of spring, I want to share something from perhaps the coldest day I’ve ever experienced. On January 7th, 2014, temperatures in the Kitchener-Waterloo region plummeted to an almost record-breaking -25.8ºC (-14.4ºF). And the brisk wind chill made it officially feel like -41ºC (-42ºF). But at least it was nice and sunny!

This very special set of circumstances led to an extremely rare phenomenon, called a sun dog, being visible both early that morning and late in the afternoon.

January 7th is the only time I’ve ever seen a sun dog. In fact, I’d never even heard of one before that day. Hopefully, these photos will help you appreciate why I’m glad I now have, even if I did have to endure such excruciating cold in the process.

IMG_9170The photo above was taken not long after dawn. Strictly speaking, the rainbow-like features either side of the sun are the sun dogs, while the rest of the circle is a halo.

Rich took the photos below with his phone (hence the lower quality), just before sunset, on his way home that same day.

IMG_0676IMG_0677IMG_0678Both sun dogs and halos are the result of light refracting off ice crystals in the atmosphere. So they fit perfectly with Cee’s Fun Photo Challenge this week, which is Shiny. The halo effect is also spot on for Sue’s (A Word in Your Ear) theme of Round. And I hope Ailsa’s (Where’s My Backpack?) won’t mind me forwarding it as a second contribution to her Clean theme (even though I was at home on this occasion!).

While you’re marvelling at these sun dogs, why not sign up and follow my continuing Journeys here at Jaspa’s Journal, or through my websiteFacebook, Twitter and Instagram?

And if that’s not enough for you, there are now three Jaspa’s Journey novels to enjoy as ebooks! Perfect for Kids 8 – 80!

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About Jaspa

Jaspa's Journey is a series of award-winning, travel-based adventure novels for strong middle grade readers by Rich Meyrick. Join the Adventure! Read the books! Follow Jaspa’s ongoing Journeys at Let's explore this amazing world together! And don’t forget to download the books and see what the buzz is all about!
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20 Responses to Sun Dog Days

  1. Amy says:

    Spectacular sun dog captures, Jaspa! I have never heard of it. -14.4 F is too brutal…

  2. Cee Neuner says:

    Wonderful photos. Thanks for playing.

  3. Never heard of sundogs before! Great shots!

  4. Jaspa, we had some -45 with wind chill temperatures in the Chicago area this year, but no sun dogs. 😦 It’s been a long, long winter and much as I enjoyed it, I’m ready for spring!!!


  5. Pingback: A Word a Week Photography Challenge–Round | WoollyMuses

  6. y. prior says:

    really nice – love the snow! 🙂

  7. Amazing photos! I especially love the halo one with the round prism effect just before dawn.

  8. DagEnDauw says:

    Wow that first picture is great. I never heard of it before, but looking at your photo I can imagine why they named this phenomenon “sun dogs”. Interesting blog you wrote here.

  9. Jo Bryant says:

    That first shot is just a wow moment

  10. suej says:

    Thanks for introducing me to sun dogs!

  11. Heyjude says:

    No never heard of these, so thank you for teaching me something new — lovely photos! I have seen “mother-of-pearl clouds” once over England which were unusual and very pretty. And apparently there are firebows – nothing to do with fire or bows and usually seen in the US too. Natural phenomenons are amazing!

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