Anthelions – Definition & Meaning

Anthelions are a fascinating natural phenomenon that has captivated people for centuries. These optical illusions are also known as parhelia or sun dogs and are created by the reflection, refraction, and dispersion of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere. In this article, we will explore the definition, origin, and meaning of anthelions, as well as their associations, synonyms, antonyms, and example sentences.


Anthelions are defined as bright spots or halos that appear on either side of the sun, usually at a distance of 22 degrees. They are caused by the refraction of sunlight by hexagonal ice crystals in the atmosphere, which act like tiny prisms and split the light into its component colors.


The word anthelion is derived from the Greek words “anti” meaning opposite and “helios” meaning sun. The term was first used by the Greek philosopher Aristotle in the 4th century BC to describe the bright spots that appeared on either side of the sun. However, the scientific explanation of anthelions was not discovered until much later, in the 17th century, by the Danish astronomer Ole Rømer.

Meaning in different dictionaries

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, anthelions are “bright spots appearing on either side of the sun, often on a luminous ring or halo, caused by the refraction and reflection of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere.”
The Oxford English Dictionary defines anthelions as “bright spots or patches of light appearing on either side of the sun, caused by the refraction of sunlight by ice crystals in the atmosphere.”


Anthelions are often associated with cold, clear weather and are more commonly seen in polar regions. They are also associated with folklore and superstition, with some cultures believing that they are a sign of impending doom or a bad omen.


Some synonyms for anthelions include parhelia, sun dogs, mock suns, and ice halos.


There are no direct antonyms for anthelions, but they can be contrasted with other atmospheric phenomena such as rainbows, halos, and auroras.

The same root words

The root word “helios” is also found in other words related to the sun, such as heliograph (a device for sending messages using sunlight), heliometer (an instrument for measuring the sun’s diameter), and heliocentric (referring to the sun as the center of the solar system).

Example Sentences

  1. The anthelions that appeared on either side of the sun were a breathtaking sight.
  2. According to folklore, anthelions are a sign of bad luck and should be avoided.
  3. The scientific explanation for anthelions was discovered by Ole Rømer in the 17th century.
  4. The ice crystals in the atmosphere that cause anthelions also create other optical phenomena such as halos and sun pillars.
Like this post? Please share to your friends:
Words Wiki
Leave a Reply

;-) :| :x :twisted: :smile: :shock: :sad: :roll: :razz: :oops: :o :mrgreen: :lol: :idea: :grin: :evil: :cry: :cool: :arrow: :???: :?: :!: