Moon Dogs & Sun Dogs

moon dog sun dog joedubs

Back in 2001 while in college at East Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania, I once witnessed a moon dog.  At the time I had no idea what it was; it just appeared to be a big ol’ halo around the moon.  It wasn’t until very recently when I learned about such a thing. I’ve heard of sun dogs before but the reality of moon dogs evaded me. Then just recently about two or three months ago I looked up at the sky at night and boom, another one, only this time I knew what I was dealing with. What is a Moon Dog? A Moon Dog, also known as a Paraselene, is an atmospheric phenomenon that’s supposedly caused by the refraction, reflection, and dispersion of sunlight through ice crystals in the Earth’s atmosphere. They typically appear as a pair of faint patches of light, at around 22° to…

Continue reading

Tessellations: Tiling the Plane

Tessellations are patterns made up of repeating shapes that completely cover a surface without overlapping or leaving any gaps. The individual shapes in a tessellation are called tiles or tessellating shapes. They can be regular or irregular polygons. In nature they are found in honeycombs or in the scales on a snake’s skin. They’re also commonly used in art and design, such as in Islamic geometric patterns or as a decorative element in tile work, fabrics, and wallpaper. M.C. Escher (Maurits Cornelis Escher, 1898-1972) is most famous for this design style. He was a Dutch graphic artist known for his mind-bending etches that incorporated elements of mathematics and geometry. His use of geometric patterns, symmetry, and perspective has inspired new ways of thinking about space, dimensionality, and the relationship between art and science. Of the contemporary tessellators I’ve searched for, my favorite has to…

Continue reading

Deconstructing Ancient Art Through Geometry

While often overlooked, there is abundant evidence of the intentional use of geometry in the composition of traditional arts, crafts and architecture. This was often accomplished through the use of regular polygons -frequently concentric- to establish proportional systems within a composition. These associations can create a feeling of unity within the work by harmonizing its disparate elements of form, decoration and purpose. Polygonal composition also allowed the incorporation of number and shape symbolism associated with religion, mythology, culture and the organization of society, within a work of art.

Continue reading