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Richard Walker

Another Sun Dog

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Here's a 'Sun Dog'  I snapped tonight. I've posted about these before, because they fascinate me.

You can see the real sun is just off to the left.

Sun Dogs are sunlight refracted through ice crystals acting as miniature prisms.

Not a great photo (smartphone only) but hope you get a hint of the spectral colors, and also see the start of a big ring around the sun, which is hardly ever seen completely.

The photo does at least show why these are often called 'false suns'.

I'm planning to get a real camera.

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Me in a rare cheerful mood

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Well spotted.

My favourites to look out for are anticrepuscular rays.  Whenever the sun is setting in a slightly cloudy sky, put your back to the sun and see what the opposite sky holds.

What amazes me is they are not converging, they are very nearly parallel lines, just very slightly diverging.

Moonbows are good to spot, too, and we're getting into the right time of year to see them clearly.

Richard Walker

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I love all these atmospheric optics, and their names too! Painters have often incorporate them into landscapes and what sometimes looks slightly unbelievable may actually be based on observation.

Me in a rare cheerful mood

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I know what you mean about those skyscapes.

I have seen the most amazing salmon pink and bright blue skies which, if on canvas, would have been the daubings of a loon.

Also weird purple and grey and white skies which look as though they come straight from the cover of a 1950s sf paperback.

I am always tickled when there is a wide expanse of sky, consistently blue, but with clearly-defined fluffy white clouds - looking exactly like the implausibly perfect cartoon sky in The Simpsons.

On ground, where there are cuttings for motorways and A roads lined with huge lumps of rock, they look exactly like the totally unrealistic hand-painted scenery regularly displayed in Warhammer magazine.   Unnaturally consistent battleship-grey rocks, with implausible sort-of-rounded-yet-suspiciously-straight lines, with dry-brushed off-white edges, obviously moulded plastic, sitting there on embankments pretending to be fake.  Like teenage girls making themselves up to look like a cheap plastic doll in the hope they look like the Photoshopped, plastic-surgeon-modified freaks in the media - reality mimicking art.

The ones who get it wrong are the railway modellers who always insist on making coppices out of a variety of trees, randomly placed when in reality much woodland in the UK is identical trees planted in perfect geometric formation all on the same day.  Do that on a model railway layout and nobody would think it realistic!