Orangeville sun halo
© Rose Knott
Local photographer Rose Knott managed to capture an image of a sun dog near Mono early Saturday morning (Feb. 13).
Mother Nature has treated residents in the Orangeville area to a relatively uncommon atmospheric phenomenon only seen a few times every year.

After a band of snow squalls moved through Dufferin County last night, the skies cleared to reveal a parhelion — informally nicknamed a sun dog — near Mono early Saturday morning (Feb. 13).

Local photographer Rose Knott managed to capture an image of the uncommon occurrence early Saturday morning.

"I've never seen a sun dog. It was just so exciting to me," she posted on Facebook. "Just felt so thrilled to capture this."

Sun dogs are formed when sunlight refracts off ice crystals in the atmosphere, creating bright spots on either side of the sun. In some cases, a rainbow-shaped halo can be seen connecting these bright pillars beside the sun.

"It is more the ice crystals high up in the atmosphere that create the phenomena," Environment Canada meteorologist Geoff Coulson told The Banner last year. "When those ice crystals reflect the sunlight at a certain angle, it can form these sun dogs."

Cold air isn't a preamble to a sundog, as Coulson said they could appear pretty much year round. They usually occur in the morning when the sun is rising or when it is setting in the evening.

"What you're really looking for is relatively cloud free conditions," Coulson said. "To be able to view it, you really would had to be within sort of the breaks in the flurry activity to actually see the sun and the phenomena itself."