Monday Morning Mystery 060523
My Column: House Wrens

The Ghost Sun

842A4324 (2)This afternoon, because of all the smoke from Canada, the Sun was the same color as at sunset sometimes, so thought I'd take a photo. I tried to tweak the image to capture what I saw with the naked eye.

That's when I noticed a second image of the sun to the left. (I hope you can see it in the photo.)

At any rate, I think I found the explanation:

Here's a highlight: "Mirages appear when particles in the atmosphere refract, or bend, light. This typically happens near the horizon, where air is thicker, though, and mirages are usually aligned vertically above or below the original source of the light — not beside it, like in the video". It's possible, Kaler said, that an unusually thick patch of atmosphere wandered in front of the sun to create the unusual effect.

Previous sightings of horizontally-aligned double images of the sun and moon are recorded in a book called "Light and Color in the Outdoors" (English edition: Springer 1993) by the famous Flemish astronomer Marcel Minnaert, which remains the most complete reference on double suns. "So many other instances have been reported that there is no longer any doubt about ... observations of sun and mock sun(s) being at exactly the same altitude," Minnaert wrote.

Can anybody shed more light on this, so to speak?