[pahr-hee-lee-uhn, -heel-yuhn]
noun, plural parhelia [pahr-hee-lee-uh, -heel-yuh] . Meteorology.
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.
Also called sundog.
Compare paraselene.

1640–50; alteration of Latin parēlion < Greek parḗlion, noun use of neuter of parḗlios beside the sun. See par-, helio-

parhelic, parheliacal [pahr-hi-lahy-uh-kuhl] , adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
parhelion (pɑːˈhiːlɪən)
n , pl -lia
Compare anthelion mock sun, Also called: sundog 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 sunset
[C17: via Latin from Greek parēlion, from para-1 (beside) + hēlios sun]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Word Origin & History

1647, from Gk. parelion "a mock sun," from para- "beside" + helios "sun" (see sol).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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American Heritage
Science Dictionary
parhelion   (pär-hē'lē-ən)  Pronunciation Key 
Plural parhelia
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.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Britannica


atmospheric optical phenomenon appearing in the sky as luminous spots 22 on each side of the Sun and at the same elevation as the Sun. Usually, the edges closest to the Sun will appear reddish. Other colours are occasionally visible, but more often the outer portions of each spot appear whitish.

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Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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Example sentences
The scientific name for sun dogs is parhelion and they are also known as mock suns.
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