Aztext Press

Life Off-the-Grid

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.[1] (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.”




  1. Cindy

    Wow that is so cool!! I have no explanation but enjoyed it. The remembering we are all sharing the planet is like when we had the last snow fall I laid down in my front yard and let the snow fall on me until my face was numb-it is humbling. I did have the occasional roar of snow ploughs though so not quite as quiet as your experience.

    • aztextpress

      We hear the rumble of the snowplow up here too. Usually I can tell it is coming even before I can hear it – Morgan the Wonder Dog has much better ears than me and he begins to sprint towards the driveway, barking as he runs, no doubt determined to admonish the plow operator for disturbing our peace and quiet! 🙂

  2. Robert Hammond

    Sun dogs are pretty but this video from last month, shown here;
    shows one being destroyed. Even more interesting is discussion because why this effect occurred is not understood at this time. Was it a lucky combination of altitude and speed (just mach 1) or is there a newly observed effect occurring?

    • aztextpress

      Wow… fascinating stuff Robert. Thanks for posting that… I’ve just discovered a new website to spend way too much time on! 🙂

  3. Larry

    Don’t forget Michelle…50 is the new 39. 😉

    • aztextpress

      Ha ha… thanks Larry! I’ll remember that…..

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