I don’t normally use my cell phone while driving, but Friday morning it was the only way I could think of to get a photo of what I was seeing. Unfortunately, the camera on my phone is not very good, so the photo didn’t come out well enough to be worth saving.
This morning at church I described what I had seen – two short columns of “rainbow” light, each topped with bright white light – and someone identified them as sundogs. I had also seen one at sunset Thursday afternoon, while driving home, and wondered what it was. They normally appear on either side of the sun, so perhaps I saw two on Thursday and didn’t realize it that sometimes I was seeing one and sometimes the other. Or perhaps they were not both easily visible from the road in the direction I was driving.
When I looked at various web pages about sundogs, most of the photos do not look all that much like what I saw. A lot of them are higher up in the sky, whereas what I saw was at the horizon. But then, the sundogs are always at the same level as the sun, and I saw them when the sun was near the horizon either rising or setting. A lot of the photos also show very bright light, with little of the rainbow range of colored light visible. But then, perhaps that is difficult to capture in a photo – my camera phone photo only showed bright light in the center and everything else rather dark.
Since I wondered if what I had seen really was sundogs, I googled “sundogs” and “Quad Cities” and sure enough, here are better photos than mine of what I saw Friday. The first one is the closest to what I saw – I did not see the full circle as shown in the last photos of the slideshow.
Next time we’ve been having such cold weather – from what I read this is probably why I saw them when I did – I’ll try to take my good camera with me. And maybe find a good place to pull over and take a good picture.