The strange phenomenon of two suns explained

News 17 January, 2018
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    Wednesday, 17-jan-2018 09:41

    Wednesday, 17-jan-2018 09:45

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    Residents of the Bas-Saint-Laurent attended Tuesday was a phenomenon of weather, to say the least particular, which gives us the impression of seeing two suns.

    Alexandre Parent, meteorologist at Environment Canada, has treated of this phenomenon intriguing in an interview granted to the team of the Quebec Morning.

    “What we saw Tuesday is a parhélie. The parhélie appears in the horizon of the sun, on the left side or the right side. It is also called a “sun dog” or “dog sun.” It is an optical phenomena related to the halo solar”, explains Mr. Parent.

    It is easy to observe the halo of sun around the sun when the sky is clear. In the case of a parhélie, the sun’s rays pass through ice crystals that form the clouds. Then there is a refraction.

    “It’s a bit the same phenomenon when we look at an object at the bottom of a swimming pool. The object is not really where it seems to be. Thus, there is a deviation of the rays of the sun, and a decomposition of the light, like a prism,” explains the meteorologist.

    “The reds are the closest to the sun, and the colors more blue are located to the opposite. It is visible mainly when the sun is low on the horizon. The rays pass through a greater number of ice crystals and the effect is increased,” adds Alexandre Parent.

    The meteorologist said that the phenomenon may be related to changes of temperature, but especially to the presence of ice crystals in the clouds.

    “It might be the clouds in high altitude in the form of cirrus. According to the photo that I have seen, the phenomenon is happening on the low clouds, but the temperatures were cold in the day on Tuesday, in the Bas-Saint-Laurent, around -20 degrees Celsius. So we had ice crystals to a few thousand feet above the earth’s surface, it can create this kind of phenomenon”, concludes Alexandre Parent.