Encore - Walking on Air
August 20, 2016
Today, and every Saturday Earth Science Picture of the Day invites you to rediscover favorites from the past. Saturday posts feature an EPOD that was chosen by viewers like you in our monthly Viewers' Choice polls. Join us as we look back at these intriguing and captivating images.
The photo above gives the impression that this man (me) is walking on a layer of air inside a colorful bubble. Atmospheric optical phenomena can play with your mind at times. The colorful bubble is a glory, and my shadow is a Brocken spectre. They're caused primarily by diffraction processes. The minute droplets in the layer of fog deflect sunlight in such a way to produce concentric rings and overlapping colors. Like a rainbow, you can only see a glory or a Brocken spectre at the antisolar point. Because shadows converge at the antisolar point, when photographing Brocken spectres and glories the shadow of the photographer will usually be included; not as a blur in the background but as the center of attention (the glorified observer). Glories are commonly seen from airplanes when taking off or landing through a cloud deck. Photo taken on June 10, 2011, on Reunion Island.