Citizens of St Petersburg in Russia woke up to an out of this world sight – three suns in the sky. People took to social media to share the unbelievable vision.
Tuesday’s atmospheric event is an optical illusion known as sun dogs, phantom suns, mock suns or under its scientific name – parhelia.
These are two bright spots that occur on either sides of the sun. They are large clusters of halos created by light interacting with ice crystals in the atmosphere.
A northern city, St Petersburg doesn’t get much sunshine in the winter. One internet user commented on the event saying,“In St Petersburg, there’s either no sun at all, or three in one go.”
“We can clearly see this phenomenon in the sky because it’s very cold. Tiny ice crystals catch sunlight and go through the sun. As a result they reflect the sun. This is possible only when it’s cold, when the frosts are heavy,” meteorologist Vyacheslav Perushkov told Russian media, commenting on the unusual sighting.
Daily temperatures in St Petersburg have plummeted below 20 degrees centigrade in recent days, which given the city’s proximity to the sea, means it feels even colder due to humidity and wind.