Helicopter Glory

June 16, 2005

Copter_halo_fullsize copy

Provided and copyright by: Mike Super
Summary authors & editors: Mike Super

The photo above showing a sprightly glory was taken during a helicopter tour of Maui, Hawaii on January 20, 2005. When we first took off, we thought our timing was lousy as there were quite a bit of clouds, and the visibility was poor. As we flew above the cloud deck, though, we were treated to a very nice glory around the shadow of our helicopter.

It was only possible for us to see this glory because we were sitting on the opposite of the helicopter from the Sun. A glory is an image produced by diffracted light, and for a glory to form the cloud droplets must be of similar size. The size of the water droplets dictates the size of the rings that are formed -- larger droplets result in smaller rings.

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