Waterfront sunsets are majestic, luminous events that never fail to impress, no matter how many times you’ve enjoyed their beauty. But even if you’ve seen the multicolored interplay of clouds and sea and sun hundreds of times, there might still be astronomical phenomena that can surprise you. Such was the case for this woman, who spotted what looked like an unfamiliar planet hovering above the sun.
WATCH VIDEO HERE
In the video, the woman is out enjoying an afternoon at the beach when she spots what looks like the very bright, marvelously clear disk of an unknown planet trailing above the setting sun. She knows it is not the moon, which is also up in the sky at this time, but has no idea what it is she is looking at. It’s not the evening star. Could it be an alien craft? A glitch in the Matrix?
The truth is not so supernatural, although it is still spectacular. What this woman witnessed is commonly called a “sun dog”, though other terms range from the scientific (“parhelia”) to the descriptive (a “mock sun” or “false sun”). Basically it’s an atmospheric optical illusion caused by ice crystals high up in the atmosphere, where the air is very cold, which act like a prism and refract the sun’s light, making luminous shapes in the sky.
Sun dogs are most often seen on shorelines when the sun is close to the horizon, and tend to appear at a point in the sky twenty-two degrees away from the sun.
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Not a new planet, or a sunbathing alien, but still a rare and fascinating sight to behold!