It's cold. That's obvious. And when it is cold on a sunny day, look beside the sun. Just maybe there will be a slight rainbow on both sides. The bright spot of a cold winter day. The two spots of rainbows are actually sundogs or sun dogs. The scientific name is parhelion or plural, parhelia.

This sundog was taken on Tuesday, Jan. 12 on a cold morning. Pretty. Lisa Marie/Townsquare Media

They are pretty cool. The simplest way to explain them: Sundogs form with the sun's reflection off ice crystals in the atmosphere.

According to, sundogs appear as colored areas of light 22 degrees distant and at the same distance above the horizon as the sun. Some believe they are called sundogs because they follow the sun like a dog follows its master.

Moondogs, Paraselenae, are also possible when the moon is bright, but are not as often.

Sundogs appear any time of the year, more often in January, April, August and October.

Aristotle (384 B.C - 322 B.C.) mentions sundogs by noting "two mock suns rose with the sun and followed it all through the day until sunset."

My husband said that his dad many, many years ago was able to take a picture of the sun and two sundogs at sunrise. And it worked because the sun was not as bright as when it is in the sky. My husband was unsure, maybe he had a filter on his camera. It was way back when.

All I know, the sun definitely seems brighter with sundogs beside it.

The sun is shining above ... Think Happy Thoughts.

If you look close, a sundog is between the trees and above the cloud. This was taken on Saturday, Jan. 16. Lisa Marie/Townsquare Media.