noun, plural par·he·li·a [pahr-hee-lee-uh, –heel-yuh] /pɑrˈhi li ə, -ˈhil yə/. Meteorology.

  1. a bright circular spot on a solar halo; a mock sun: usually one of two or more such spots seen on opposite sides of the sun, and often accompanied by additional luminous arcs and bands.

noun plural -lia (-lɪə)

  1. one of several bright spots on the parhelic circle or solar halo, caused by the diffraction of light by ice crystals in the atmosphere, esp around sunsetAlso called: mock sun, sundog Compare anthelion

n.1640s, from Greek parelion “a mock sun,” from para- “beside” (see para- (1)) + helios “sun” (see sol). Plural parhelia

  1. A white spot appearing at times in the parhelic circle. White parhelia are believed to form from light that is reflected off of atmospheric ice crystals; colored parhelia are believed to form from light that is refracted by atmospheric ice crystals. Multiple parhelia can often be seen simultaneously. Compare anthelion.
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