A Hall of Mountain Glory

11:22 a.m. on May 4, 2010 (EDT)
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A Hall of Mountain Glory
Credit & Copyright: A. Tudorica (ISS Romania)
Explanation: If you tried to enter this hall of fog, you would find it dissipates around you. The hall is actually an the mountain from which this picture was taken. Known as "the glory", the phenomenon is frequently seen from airplanes. The ring's center is not visible, but if it were, the shadow of the observer would appear. This shadow would likely change as clouds passed, creating a faux moving giant known as the Brocken Spectre. Pictured below, several concentric rings of the glory appear to create a hall for this mountain king. The cause of the glory has only been understood recently and is relatively complex. Briefly, small droplets of water reflect, refract, and diffract sunlight backwards towards the Sun. The phenomenon has a counterpart in astronomy, where looking out from planet Earth in the direction opposite the Sun yields a bright spot called the gegenschein.

glories_tudorica.jpg

Current image and article from Astronomy Picture of the Day

http://antwrp.gsfc.nasa.gov/apod/astropix.html

12:14 p.m. on May 4, 2010 (EDT)
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Have you read this guy's CV? He's 23 years old, holds two bachelor's degrees (Economics and about to defend a Physics thesis), he has been published more than once, speaks 3 languages in addition to his native Romanian, he climbs mountains, and snowboards.

Oh, and lets not forget that he now seems to have captured in image a very rare atmospheric phenomenon that most people may never see in their lifetime.

1:07 p.m. on May 4, 2010 (EDT)
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As a former pilot, frequent commercial flyer, and climber, I have seen the Brachen Spectre many times and taken a few photos of it. This photo is particularly interesting because of the low angle. Almost always, when I have seen or photographed it, it has been below me with the sun at a high angle. In that case, as Gary (or rather the Astronomy Picture of the Day) notes, you see your or the plane's shadow in the center, and see a complete halo. It is best seen if the clouds are ice-crystal, rather than water droplet, but both will produce it.

5:28 p.m. on May 4, 2010 (EDT)
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wow, that's cool.

Thanks Gary.

August 30, 2014
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