Glory Observed Above Sicily, Italy

June 23, 2022



Photographer: Salvatore Cerruto 
Summary Authors: Salvatore Cerruto; Jim Foster

During a recent plane trip, I was able to observe the glory shown above while we were landing in Sicily, approaching Catania's Fontanarossa Airport. Sometimes called the "pilot's glory, these colorful concentric rings appear on the side of the plane directly opposite of the Sun. This phenomenon can also be seen from mountainous areas, if a fog bank lies below you, as colored rings surrounding the observer’s own shadow.

The glory is formed from diffraction of sunlight by tiny cloud droplets. When sunlight enters these droplets (approximately 0.0010 – 0.0050 mm in diameter), their small size acts to scatter light rather than refract or reflect it. Photo taken on March 11, 2022.

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