Unique Objects Seen in Oregon Coast Skies This Week

Published 10/16/2015 at 6:22 PM PDT - Updated 10/16/2015 at 6:42 PM PDT
By Oregon Coast Beach Connection staff

(Oregon Coast) – UPDATED: Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium snapped the most publicized shots, but she wasn't the only one. Earlier this week, social media lit up with visitors to the Oregon coast taking pictures of the revered and rather rare sun dog in the skies. Even some TV news stations caught it on their beach cams. (Sun dog photos by Tiffany Boothe of Seaside Aquarium; all others from Oregon Coast Beach Connection).

“Another unique sighting outside of the Aquarium, a sun dog!,” Boothe said. “Also known as a phantom sun, sun dogs are created by ice crystals in the atmosphere interacting with light.”


They are also known as mock suns, but their scientific name is parhelia. They often come as a pair of bright spots on either side of the sun, but it seems in Oregon they are more frequently seen as a singular object. A pair of bright spots is often seen with a large, luminous area around the sun as well.

Sun dogs are part of a larger family of halos that includes the stunning moon halos – which come in many forms.

Like many light phenomena associated with the sun – including the Green Flash at sunset – refraction is the key. Scientist say sun dogs are most often caused by ice crystals with a hexagonal shape, sitting high in the atmosphere in very cold air. These act like prisms, bending the light and making interesting, luminous shapes. The taller the sun dog, the more these objects are wobbling as they move through the atmosphere.

The side of a sun dog that's closest to the sun tends to get colored red, while the opposite sides drift more into blues and oranges.

Whats interesting about Boothe's photo is that the oranges are stronger on the sun-ward side of the sun dog. Also, she apparently found only one floating above this part of the Oregon coast, not a pair. The luminous blob around the sun is there, however.

Moon halos are sometimes at least as stunning, and they are the result of tiny ice crystals lurking high in the sky, usually around 20,000 feet above and existing as thin, wispy clouds. These come in two flavors: a giant, whitish ring around the moon, or a blob of colors surrounding the moon. Both require a thin layer of clouds that does essentially the same thing in terms of refraction that the sun dog does.


Many of the multicolored forms are much smaller, but they seem to have a rainbow full of colors. Amusingly, they can also resemble Pac Man in the sky.

Moon halos like this – and the whitish kinds - often mean rain or snow are coming soon, and they are often the forerunners of storm clouds right behind. But not always. The photo above was taken in Depoe Bay on a September night when the weather was warm, and in fact the following day had sunny skies and temps near a balmy 70 degrees.



Below: Green flash at sunset


More About Oregon Coast hotels, lodging.....

More About Oregon Coast Restaurants, Dining.....

A famous little family eatery where the seafood practically gets shuffled from the sea straight into your mouth. Soups and salads include many seafood specialties, including cioppino, chowders, crab Louie and cheese breads. Fish 'n' chips come w/ various fish. Seafood sandwiches with shrimp, tuna or crab, as well as burgers. Dinners like pan fried oysters, fillets of salmon or halibut, saut�ed scallops.
Oregon Coast event or adventure you can't miss
Pacific City, Oregon

 


Breathtaking high panoramic beach views from oceanfront rooms, spacious family suites & fully equipped cottages.  Known for gracious hospitality, the sparkling clean Sea Horse features a heated indoor pool, dramatic oceanfront spa, great whale watching, free deluxe continental breakfast, conference room, free casino shuttle & HBO.  Fireplaces, private decks and spas are available in select rooms.  Close to shops, golf, fishing & restaurants.  Pets are welcome in select rooms.  Senior discounts.  Kids 18 and under stay free in their parent's room.  Very attractive rates.
Lincoln City’s only resort hotel built right on the beach with all oceanfront rooms - nestled against a rugged cliffside overlooking a soft, sandy beach. Dine in penthouse restaurant and bar, for casual meal or candlelight dinner. An array of seafood specialties, juicy steaks and other Northwest favorites, including decadent Sunday buffet. Rooms range from bedrooms to studios to 1-bedroom suites with microwaves and refrigerators to full kitchens. Also, wi-fi, spa, saunas, exercise room and year-round heated swimming pool. Kids will love the game room and easy beach access. Full-service conference/meeting rooms for that inspirational retreat; extensive wedding possibilities.

 

LATEST Related Oregon Coast Articles

Lincoln City Mysteries: Five Stunning Oregon Coast Spots You Don't Know
You may make some startling discoveries at the northern edge of Lincoln City and just north of it. Travel tips, kids, Pacific City, Grace Hammond, Road's End
Rescued Sea Turtle, Famed Otter at Oregon Coast Aquarium Die This Week
A longtime fixture and attraction dies as does one of the sea turtles it helped rescue recently. Seaside Aquarium, Newport
Central Oregon Coast's Yachats and Florence in December, January
Music, food, the holidays, a good helping of whales and even a festival of gems and minerals. Yachas events
Lincoln City's Holidays and Frivolities: December Highlights for Central Oreg...
Making plenty of waves in December: Lincoln City events
Sunny and Mostly Windless, Warm Oregon Coast - Maybe Ten Days
If you don't like the beaches warmer and less windy than the valley, then you should stay home
Oregon Coast a Series of Creature Features as of Late
Pyrosomes, baby velella, two sea turtles, lots of bull kelp and a shipwreck. Sciences, history
Japanese Fishing Boat Washes Up on N. Oregon Coast, near Cannon Beach
The 38-foot vessel came up on the beach on December 2. Seaside Aquarium
Second Sea Turtle Rescued from Oregon Coast Beaches
Seaside Aquarium snagged a juvenile green sea turtle off a beach along the Columbia River. Science

Back to Oregon Coast

Contact Advertise on BeachConnection.net
All Content, unless otherwise attributed, copyright BeachConnection.net Unauthorized use or publication is not permitted