Brocken Spectre and Glory

April 09, 2004


Provided by: Mr. Moose
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Mr. Moose

The above photo showing an optical smorgasbord was taken from the 4,509m (14,900 ft) summit of Mt. Wilhelm, the highest point in Papua, New Guinea. On a clear day, one can see the northern and southern coasts of the island. On this day, although we were in the clouds, we were treated to this breathtaking Brocken Spectre and glory. We were late getting to the summit for sunrise as our guide got lost a few times. However, we did get there in time to watch the Sun come up through the morning clouds. As the Sun moved a little higher, it cast a shadow of the mountain on the clouds below. The pyramid at the bottom is the shadow of the tip of Mt. Wilhelm. As for the vertical shadow in the center of the colored rings, well, that's me (Moosey) with my hands outstretched. When I moved my arms, they traced out the rings of this glory, like the hands of a clock. Similar to the glory, the Brocken Spectre is a diffraction phenomenon, forming at the antisolar point. In this case, the shadow of the observer is cast onto the myriad small droplets composing the mist.

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