moon dogs false sun dogs | The Old Farmer's Almanac

Moon Dogs

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Matin Turner
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Catherine Boeckmann
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Ever seen a Moon dog?

When the Moon is low in the sky, a bright “false Moon” (a well-defined saucer of brilliant moonlight) may hover off to its side.

Sometimes, these “saucers” are distinct bright spots attached to a halo around the Moon at a point 22° to its right or left—or both sides at once. Often, however, they may seem to appear without the halo.

By day, with the Sun, one of these phenomena is called a parhelion, or sun dog. By night, it is called a paraselene, or Moon dog.

Look for a Moon dog when you see high, thin, cirrus clouds near the Moon.

Photo of Moon Dog

Photo of Sun Dog by Donna Winsted