Sun dogs over Derbyshire
© YouTube/Spooky Nook Creative
The rare solar phenomenon of sun dogs were spotted in the Derbyshire sky this weekend.

People were amazed to see the weather phenomenon, which can also be called mock suns, with the official title being a parhelion.

Sun dogs are formed by two bright spots appearing either side of the sun, creating the illusion of three suns in the sky.

The phenomenon is caused by ice crystals in the upper atmosphere.

Sun dogs were spotted in Winshill, East Staffordshire on Friday, May 18 at 7.10pm.

The video below shows the sun dogs in Winshill, with an upside-down rainbow directly above.

Elsewhere, South Derbyshire sightings of sun dogs took place in Swadlincote and Newhall.

While the minor meteorological event was also captured at Willington's Mercia Marina.

In order for the sun dogs to appear, the air needs to be relatively still, so that the ice crystals can be oriented the same way.

Detailing how sun dogs appear, the Met Office said: "Parhelia are the result of sunlight passing through hexagonal ice crystals contained within cirrus cloud.

"They often appear in conjunction with 22 degree Haloes which are produced under the same conditions."

Explaining why the sun dogs appeared in the sky, the weather agency added: "Light refracts from hexagonal ice crystals from cirrus cloud or, during especially cold weather, ice crystals which have fallen to low levels - known as diamond dust.

"Similar to a prism, the crystals bend the sun's light as it passes through them, with a minimum deflection of 22 degrees."

On this occasion in Winshill, the sun dogs appeared as two luminous areas either side of the sun, with no discernible colour.

But, they can also appear with slight colouration of red and blue or with one slightly brighter than the other.
Sun dog over Derbyshire
© Derby Telegraph
When sun dogs are present, if you look directly above the sun, you will see an upside-down rainbow.

The upside-down rainbows found above the sun are referred to as a circumzenithal arc or Bravais and occur when sunlight refracts through ice crystals, held in cirrus clouds, in a specific way.

The conditions are required to allow the sunlight to refract in the correct way through the ice crystals to form the smiling, rather than frowning, halo.