Glitter from Aloft

July 16, 2011

Glint over Toronto (3) 
Photographer: David Wigglesworth
Summary Author: David Wigglesworth

The photo above showing a strong glitter patch was taken from a passenger jet on final approach to Toronto Pearson Airport on May 23, 2011 at 7:55 p.m. The view is looking roughly west by north-west. A thunderstorm with significant winds and heavy rainfall had just passed through the area delaying our arrival to the airport by roughly fifty minutes. The major intersection in the photo, at right center, is Highway 400 and Finch Avenue. There's no waterway in this area so for a glitter pattern (or glitter patch) to form in this location there must have been a tremendous amount of water, most likely in the form of puddles, on the ground. Glitter patterns are essentially millions of reflections of the Sun on a less than perfectly smooth surface. They're most often seen on ripples or small waves on lakes and rivers. This photo illustrates that glitter can occur on water of any source, even recently fallen rain. Note the faint crepuscular rays in the distance (back left of photo). Click here for further Toronto weather details on May 23, 2011. While the amount of rain is not noted on this website, look at the observations at the airport from 7:05 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

Photo Details: Camera Maker: Motorola; Camera Model: MB860; Focal Length: 4.3mm; Focus Distance: 0.00m; Aperture: f/2.8; Exposure Time: 0.0008 s (1/1250); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Center Weight; White Balance: Auto; Light Source: Unknown; Flash Fired: No; Orientation: Normal;
Color Space: sRGB.