Rainbow Connection: Bird Soars Near Sundog in Majestic Photo

Bird and Sundog Over Spain
Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego took this photo of a bird flying by a sundog, also called a mock sun or parhelion, from Merida, Spain in October 2012. The photo was taken in a single exposure, without a tripod using a polarizing filter. (Image credit: Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego)

A lone bird soars near a phantom sun, or sundog in this breathtaking image.

Juan Manuel Pérez Rayego captured this beautiful photo from Merida, Spain in October 2012, releasing it recently to SPACE.com. The photo was taken in a single exposure, without a tripod, using a polarizing filter.

A small rainbow spotted off the side of the sun is called a mock sun, sundog or parhelion (Greek, meaning "beside the sun"). This phenomenon may be rare, but it is just sunlight refracting through thin, falling ice crystals in the Earth's atmosphere. These crystals fall almost horizontally and refract the light sideways. Sundogs typically occur 22 degrees to each side of a setting or rising sun. [Amazing Rainbow Photos by Skywatchers]

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Contributing Writer and Producer

Nina Sen is a freelance writer and producer who covered night sky photography and astronomy for Space.com. She began writing and producing content for Space.com in 2011 with a focus on story and image production, as well as amazing space photos captured by NASA telescopes and other missions. Her work also includes coverage of amazing images by astrophotographers that showcase the night sky's beauty.