The Government of Canada’s terminology and linguistic data bank.

SUN DOGS [1 record]

Record 1 2002-05-21


Subject field(s)
  • Atmospheric Physics

Name given to the parhelia, paranthelia or the anthelion when they are particularly bright.


A halo occurs when the light from the sun or the moon is refracted and reflected by ice crystals in the atmosphere ... Under certain circumstances a second, or outer, halo appears, which is fainter than the inner one. At times white or colored luminous arcs are also seen lying somewhat parallel to the horizon and passing through the source of light, called mock suns, parhelia, or sun dogs for the sun, and paraselenae for the moon. A single mock sun, the anthelion, directly opposite the sun, may be added.


A sundog is a brightly colored spot that appears to the right or left of the sun. Sundogs form when the sun is near the horizon and the sunlight is refracted (bent) by hexagonal, plate-like ice crystals floating horizontally in the air. Sundogs are brightest in winter because ice crystals are more common, but can be seen at any time. Sundogs are also known as mock suns or parhelia.

Key term(s)
  • mock suns
  • sun dogs
  • sundogs


  • Physique de l'atmosphère

Nom donné aux parhélies, paranthélies ou à l'anthélie lorsqu'elles sont particulièrement brillantes.

Key term(s)
  • faux soleils


Campo(s) temático(s)
  • Física de la atmósfera

Nombre que se da a los parhelios, los paranthelios y los anthelios cuando son particularmente brillantes.

Key term(s)
  • falsos soles
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