Last Sunday afternoon, returning from a late Christmas dinner celebration with my family, I observed something I had never seen before. Looking out the window of the van, I spotted something that looked like a rainbow in color, but wasn’t the arched shape rainbow I have known throughout my life. It was a spherical shaped area of the sky, but had the colored aspects of a rainbow.

I immediately grabbed a few exposures with my camera and shared with my wife and family, “Look out the back window. It’s a ‘rain blob’.” This is the name I had come up with to describe this occurrance. I also called it the “Cowpens Aurora Borealis” in honor of the nearby community we were passing through.

My family was amused at my naming efforts, but I don’t think any of them had ever seen this strange phenomena.

After arriving back at my mother’s house, I was talking to my sister-in-law about the “blob.” She informed me that it was a “sun dog”.

This morning I downloaded my photos and googled “sun dog”.

I found a number of images, one of which closely resembled mine. The definition was facinating and I found a description on a website that solves mysteries, called WonderQuest.

A sundog is a rainbow-like spot in a cirrus cloud. Light shining through ice crystals in the cloud makes a sundog, much like light shining through raindrops makes a rainbow. “They are reddish on the side facing the sun and often have bluish-white tails stretching horizontally away from them,” say David Lynch and William Livingston in Color and Light in Nature.

Anyone else seen a rainblob besides me?


2 thoughts on ““Look, up in the sky… it’s a bird… it’s a plane….. no, it’s a rainblob!”

  1. Jim,
    i like your name for them better….rainblob…..rainbow…..they fit better…
    have seen them over the years….being the old meteroligist that i am….
    you got cool shots and a nice blog….if that is what it is called….blog, webcomment,twittersomething watch-a-ma-call-it..

  2. I saw one one time!! I’ve told people I saw a rainbow in the shape of a ball and they react like I told them I saw a flying saucer. I was driving my car so couldn’t take a picture, but I saw what I saw. This was in Houston, Texas, about 15 years ago. It was not raining.

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