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[pahr-hee-lee-uh n, -heel-yuh n] /pɑrˈhi li ən, -ˈhil yən/
noun, plural parhelia
[pahr-hee-lee-uh, -heel-yuh] /pɑrˈhi li ə, -ˈhil yə/ (Show IPA).
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.
Origin of parhelion
1640-50; alteration of Latin parēlion < Greek parḗlion, noun use of neuter of parḗlios beside the sun. See par-, helio-
Related forms
parhelic, parheliacal
[pahr-hi-lahy-uh-kuh l] /ˌpɑr hɪˈlaɪ ə kəl/ (Show IPA),
adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for parhelion


noun (pl) -lia (-lɪə)
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 Also called mock sun, sundog Compare anthelion
Derived Forms
parhelic (pɑːˈhiːlɪk; -ˈhɛlɪk), parheliacal (ˌpɑːhɪˈlaɪəkəl) adjective
Word Origin
C17: via Latin from Greek parēlion, from para-1 (beside) + hēlios sun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for parhelion

1640s, from Greek parelion "a mock sun," from para- "beside" (see para- (1)) + helios "sun" (see sol).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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parhelion in Science
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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