One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A bright spot in the sky appearing on either side of the sun, formed by refraction of sunlight through ice crystals high in the atmosphere.
- ‘By the riverside he seized on a sign: three suns in the sky (a rare astrological phenomenon known as a parhelion) to inspire in his troops and himself a moment of intense self-belief.’
- ‘Haloes may be accompanied by a whole array of circumzenithal arcs and parhelion (mock suns).’
Mid 17th century: from Latin parelion, from Greek para- ‘beside’ + hēlios ‘sun’.
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