Conservation Minnesota

Sun Dogs or Parhelion


Last Friday morning the sun shone behind blustery snow as I drove Highway 75 to a meeting. Fingers of white whispered across the road, making it a challenge at times and impossible at others to spot approaching traffic. And, yet a sense of magic hovered over the landscape. The occasional tree row, a bold line of darkness, sprung up from the never ending alabaster of the snow-covered fields. It was as if a cottony web had been strewn over everything.The scene was breathtaking.


The sky was full of sun dogs; the conditions must have been perfect. Also referred to as mock sun or parhelia, sun dogs are said to bring good luck or radical change in the weather. While the term sun dog is common, I didn’t know what they were until recently. When I sat down to write this, my plan was to explain in layman’s terms how they form, but to be honest, once I researched the topic I quickly gave up. Something about ice crystals, arcs, hexagonal plates, refracting rays, halos and cirrus clouds floating in front of the sun. However they’re formed, they add an ethereal mood to the prairie. To try capture a sense of the dreaminess of that mid-morning, I took a few photos with my IPhone as I drove.

While I’m never a fan of bitter temperatures or impaired driving conditions, nature made winter more than bearable that morning.

About Kristin Eggerling

Kristin Eggerling
Kristin Eggerling is the mother of two and a freelance writer in northwestern Minnesota. She most recently worked in the public health field as the administrator for Quin Community Health Services which serves the counties of Kittson, Marshall, Pennington, Red Lake and Roseau.
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