Brocken Spectre and Glory from Northern Italy

December 30, 2011

Dolomitespectreepod

Photographer: Vittorio Poli
Summary Author: Vittorio Poli; Jim Foster

When climbing a mountain in the Dolomite Range of northern Italy this past summer, I was pleased to notice that when I glanced down into the layer of mist below, someone seemed to be looking out for me. Of course, that someone was actually me. What I observed at approximately 9,800 ft (2,987 m) was a classic Brocken spectre and glory. The colorful rings make up the glory, and my shadow is the Brocken Spectre. Both result when sunlight is deflected by minute droplets -- typically fog or cloud droplets or mist from a spray. When you observe these phenomena, whether or not you can see the Sun, you know you're looking in the direction opposite of the Sun's position -- toward the antisolar point. Photo taken on August 16, 2011.