Glory and Honor

June 11, 2007


Provided by: John A. Adam, Old Dominion University
Summary authors & editors: John A. Adam

This glory was photographed on 13th March 2007, not long after take-off from London's Gatwick airport. The plane was close enough to the cloud bank that its shadow was quite evident (a slight adjustment was made to increase the contrast). Glories are formed when light is back-scattered by individual cloud droplets, though the contributing mechanisms are not all straightforward ones. Light reflection, refraction and diffraction are involved, as well as the transformation of light waves within cloud droplets into surface waves (and vice versa). Because shadows converge on the antisolar point, glories viewed from the air are frequently accompanied by the shadow of the aircraft you're flying in, especially shortly after take-off or just before landing. I saw this one returning from England after my mother's funeral, and so chose the title "Glory and Honor" in memory of her.

Related Links: