Faint Glory

March 14, 2004

Glory_50_mi_sw_of_cincy_121403 copy

Provided by: James Baker
Summary authors & editors: James Baker; Jim Foster

The photo above showing a glory phenomenon (inside box) was taken in mid December (2003) from a jet airliner about 50 miles (80 km) southwest of Cincinnati, Ohio. This faint glory appeared as the aircraft exited the cloud deck, below the plane in the picture. Only passengers on the side of an aircraft looking away from the Sun can see a glory. This one isn't particularly distinct since the cloud deck is some distance from the camera. Thus, the shadow of the aircraft is hard to discern within the colored rings. Glories result from diffraction of light, in this case, the back-scattering of sunlight by small droplets of water in the clouds. The radius of the glory is dependent on the size of the drops - smaller drops produce larger rings.

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