Heiligenschein and Fog Layer

June 19, 2019

IMG_3959_1 (3)

Photographer: Francesco Dalla Stella 
Summary Authors: Francesco Dalla Stella; Jim Foster

The photo above showing colorful rings of light, at center, encircling the top of a long shadow was observed on a grassy field in Montecchio Maggiore, Italy. The shadow is that of the photographer, snapping the picture with his camera. If blades of grass are moist, in this case moistened from a shallow fog layer, you can sometimes see faint rings (heiligenschein) about the shadow of your head, if you’re looking toward the antisolar point. Sunlight passing through a droplet of water that then strikes a blade of grass is reflected toward the drop, which scatters the light back in the direction of the Sun. You can’t see the rings around someone else’s head, only your own; because you only see light that's reflected directly backward toward your eyes. However, note that the brightly-colored upper portion is a glory, most often observed from airplane windows when looking away from the Sun toward a cloud bank. Photo taken on May 16, 2019.

Photo Details: Camera: Canon EOS 100D; Software: Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 6.7 (Windows); Exposure Time: 0.0031s (1/320); Aperture: ƒ/7.1; ISO equivalent: 200; Focal Length: 18.0mm