Mystery in the Sky
by Michelle Mather
I’m going to turn 50 in a few months and even after half of century of living and learning I can still be surprised and intrigued by the world around me.
Take this photo for example;
Cam took this photo on Wednesday afternoon. I was working in the office and he was walking back from where he was cutting firewood. He looked up and saw this and called me out to take a look too. It was a sunny afternoon but there seemed to be some haze just around the sun. It almost looked like a rainbow but not quite. It stayed there for quite some time.
One day a number of summers ago we noticed that the sky had a strange appearance. Kind of hazy… almost smoky…. but it wasn’t a humid day so we wondered what was causing it. We even began to detect the faint aroma of smoke and we got a little worried that there was a nearby forest fire. We called our local fire department. Eventually we figured out that due to some sort of weird inversion effect, forest fires that were raging in Quebec were actually affecting our skies here in Eastern Ontario. The effects lasted for over a week!
At times like these I am reminded once again that we are all “roommates” sharing the same planet. The activities and behaviours of each of us that pollute the water or the air or the soil will affect all of us. I’m working to limit my impact on our home. I hope you are too!
P.S. If anyone has an explanation for the “solar rainbow” we witnessed, I’d love to hear it!
UPDATE: A friend just emailed me after reading my blog. She said she thinks these are called “sun dogs”. Here’s Wikipedia’s description of sun dogs;
“A sun dog or sundog (scientific name parhelion, plural parhelia, from Greek parēlion, (παρήλιον), παρά(beside) + ήλιος(sun), “beside the sun”; also called a mock sun) is an atmospheric phenomenon that creates bright spots of light in the sky, often on a luminous ring or halo on either side of the sun. (formed by ice crystals)
Sundogs may appear as a colored patch of light to the left or right of the sun, 22° distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun, and in ice halos. They can be seen anywhere in the world during any season, but they are not always obvious or bright. Sundogs are best seen and are most conspicuous when the sun is low.”