Brocken Spectre (A "Glory")

mejane

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jan 17, 2002
Messages
1,375
Likes
36
Points
69
#1
(Copied / transplanted from the Weird Weather thread)

Here's some nice piccies of some of these phenonoma.

Jane.

Here's the relevant text and a photo from the cited webpage ...

BrockenSpectrum.jpg

Yet another colorful and rare phenomenon, the Brocken spectrum (also know as a glory), here a picture taken in central Italy. It is sometimes visible from mountaintops and looks like a circle of rainbow colors around one's shadow projected on the haze below. The sky above needs to be clear and usually some wind is needed to form the haze just on the downwind side of the mountain. Up until 2003 no really clear explanation had yet been given, but a deeper mathematical analysis revealed that the main cause is a tunneling effect of incoming light on the surface of the water droplets, an effect which is not necessary in order to explain rainbows for instance. In other words, a part of the light from the sun which passes very close to a droplet actually goes in the droplet thanks to a tunnelling effect, and is sent back in the direction it came from via usual optical phenomena, including wavelength separation of colors, hence the aspect of multiple concentric rainbows. Or in yet other words, it is a direct and beautiful macroscopic view of a microscopic quantum effect.

SOURCE: https://www.gdargaud.net/Antarctica/AntarSky.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

_schnor

Abominable Snowman
Joined
Aug 14, 2001
Messages
995
Likes
9
Points
49
#2
wow - check out the picture of the Brocken spectrum on the url jane posted! We have a name at last!

could the ice crystals act as a prism, as it looks like a mini rainbow...

I've found a nicer picture here
Link is dead. Here's the same photo, snagged from another site ...


Unknown.jpeg
 
Last edited by a moderator:
A

Anonymous

Guest
#3
If you want to see a glory without travelling to the Antarctic, or climbing up a mountain, just try keeping a lookout next time you fly off on holiday or business.

If flying over uniform cloud, look for the shadow of the aircraft on the cloud below. If the conditions are just right, you should see glow around the shadow, due to the retroreflection of sunlight. With a bit of luck you may also see the rainbow as well. I've seen a few myself this way. :)
 
Joined
Aug 18, 2002
Messages
19,431
Likes
122
Points
129
#4
'Brocken specter' dazzles climbers on Mt. Fuji




FUJIYOSHIDA, Yamanashi -- Climbers in Japan are raving about the "Brocken effect," a rainbow-like rings surrounding a climber's shadow created when the sun is low.

The Brocken specter is a mysterious phenomenon whereby a climber's image is surrounded by rainbow-like rings, and appears in foggy conditions on high mountains, especially when the sun is low at dawn or dusk.

Climbers experienced the Brocken specter near the top of 3,776-meter Mount Fuji on July 18.

On that day, the weather was poor in the morning, but the sun broke through shortly after 4 p.m., creating a distant shadow of a climber surrounded by rainbow-like rings.

"I'd heard of it, but this was the first time to actually see it," said a climber from Kumagaya, Saitama Prefecture. "This was my lucky day."

The Brocken specter is a sign of good luck in Japan.The Brocken effect is named after Mount Brocken in Germany where it is often seen. (Mainichi Shimbun, Japan, July 22, 2004)
http://mdn.mainichi.co.jp/news/20040722p2a00m0dm015001c.html
 

rynner2

Great Old One
Joined
Aug 7, 2001
Messages
55,243
Likes
8,977
Points
284
#5
A more reasonable explanation for some of the sightings of huge figures in the mist could be phenomena known as the Brocken spectre, named after the German mountains where the effect was first discovered. An early account of such an event occurs in 'In the Shadow of Cairngorm' by The Rev. W. Forsyth,

'Sir Thomas Dick Lauder describes such an appearance ("Edinburgh New Philosophic Journal, 1831.") "On descending from the top (of Ben Mac Dhui) at about half-past three P.M., an interesting optical appearance presented itself to our view. We had turned towards the east, and the sun shone on our backs, when we saw a very bright rainbow described on the mist before us. The bow, of beautifully distinct prismatic colours, formed about two-thirds of a circle, the extremities of which appeared to rest on the lower portion of the mountain. In the centre of this incomplete circle there was described a luminous disc, surrounded by the prismatic colours displayed in concentric rings. On the disc itself, each of the party (three in number), as they stood about fifty yards apart, saw his own figure most distinctly delineated, although those of the other two were invisible to him. The representation appeared of the natural size, and the outline of the whole person of the spectator was most correctly portrayed. To prove that the shadow seen by each individual was that of himself, we resorted to various gestures, such as waving our hats, flapping our plaids, &c., all which motions were exactly followed by the airy figure.'

This account shows that the Brocken effect, where shadows are reflected onto mist banks giving the appearance of huge figures, has occurred on Ben Machdhui.

http://www.mysteriousbritain.co.uk/scotland/aberdeenshire/hauntings/the-grey-man-of-ben-macdhui.html
 
Last edited by a moderator:

LordRsmacker

Abominable Snowman
Joined
May 1, 2006
Messages
663
Likes
443
Points
79
#6
I had a "Brocken Spectre" encounter in Sept 2010, above the "Eagle's Nest", Berchtesgaden (near the site of you-know-who's house). Although I soon realised it was "me" I was looking at, I'll confess it gave me a bit of a twitch and I managed to screw up all attempts to photograph the image in the cloud apart from one pic which shows a lovely halo I acquired that day. I suppose, compared to the previous residents of that area, I am rather angelic!
 

FrKadash

Justified & Ancient
Joined
Jul 1, 2012
Messages
1,944
Likes
2,051
Points
159
#7
This could have gone in our Wodewose thread but I thought this ancient thread deserved to be bumped and revived after all these years, and I think the article is relevant enough to The Big Grey Man phenomenon to fit here.

Arran mountaineer captures stunning photo of a Brocken Spectre
Published: 15:58 Monday 24 October 2016

Deputy team leader Ewan McKinnon captured the picture of the incredible spectre whilst looking from the ridge down towards Glen Sannox and posted it on the team’s Facebook page. A Brocken spectre, or mountain spectre, is the magnified shadow of the person observing, projected onto a bank of mist or fog by strong sunlight. The ‘spectre’ appears when the sun shines from behind the observer, who is looking down from a ridge or peak. The light then projects their shadow through the mist, often in a triangular shape due to perspective, and surrounds it in a halo of light known as a ‘glory’.
http://www.scotsman.com/news/odd/ar...stunning-photo-of-a-brocken-spectre-1-4267149
 

Ermintruder

Delineated by a professional cryptozoologist
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,426
Likes
7,297
Points
284
#8
I've seen this effect myself, on highland hilltops (never as clear as this) and it can be very frightning, no matter how you try to rationalise it.

What can happen, too, is that the slant angle of the sun's rays can instantly alter (due to upper winds moving the intermediate pierced clouds) and suddenly your own projected image appears to move/shimmer/sharpen or vanish.

And if the lower fog/clouds suddenly rises, due to a thermal or an upwind, the size of your shadow increases rapidly as if it's running towards you. A really really unpleasant experience, even when you're prepared for it.

I've found it odddly-similar in scare-factor to when I've been driving fast at night, and I've suddenly encountered a fallen tree blocking the whole road. Just the inescapable dark malice of it- has to be experienced to be understood
 
Last edited:

Bigphoot2

Not sprouts! I hate sprouts.
Joined
Jul 30, 2005
Messages
6,659
Likes
17,001
Points
294
#10
JS105788368.jpg

Three weather phenomena in one stunning photograph
Katherine Fotheringham was walking in Glen Coe when she managed to photograph three unusual weather spectacles at one time.
  • SCOTLAND NOW

    Stunning scenes over Glen Coe last weekend (Photo: Katherine Fotheringham)
    • Katherine, from Scone, Perthshire, said: “I was going up the hill to take photos. We were trying to get above the clouds and as we were walking through the fog, the fog bow appeared beside us.

      “Then I noticed the brocken spectre under the bow. I thought it was unusual to see it all together.

      “I’ve seen the inversion before but I had never seen brocken spectre or the fog bow before.”

      A brocken spectre is created when a person stands above the upper surface of a cloud with the sun behind them.

      It causes a massive shadow to appear on the clouds. The phenomenon is said to explain the mysterious presence of the Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui.
http://www.dailyrecord.co.uk/scotland-now/three-weather-phenomena-one-stunning-9328529
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Ermintruder

Delineated by a professional cryptozoologist
Joined
Jul 13, 2013
Messages
5,426
Likes
7,297
Points
284
#13
I've often wondered- the Brocken Spectre effect, in particular, the golden halo effect: this must've been utterly-terrifying, and impressive, for ancient peoples in high-level communities.

Surely this must have helped create at least some of the sightings in the past of angels, with halos. The size/feel/colour seems so similar to certain two-dimensional art angelic auras / 'saintly light' representations (stained-glass, early frescos, religious iconography).
 

GNC

King-Sized Canary
Joined
Aug 25, 2001
Messages
28,165
Likes
13,125
Points
284
#14
I wonder if the effect is present in other parts of the world? Like Tibet, for instance?
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,729
Likes
16,106
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#15
I wonder if the effect is present in other parts of the world? Like Tibet, for instance?
The Brocken Spectre effect is potentially present anywhere the lighting and atmospheric conditions support its appearance.

It doesn't even require being in an elevated position, as its classic affiliation with mountains and mountaineering would suggest. Here's an illustration of the effect generated on flat terrain with automobile headlights on a foggy night.

Brocken_Spectre_at_California_Place.jpg

SOURCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brocken_spectre
 

EnolaGaia

I knew the job was dangerous when I took it ...
Staff member
Joined
Jul 19, 2004
Messages
13,729
Likes
16,106
Points
309
Location
Out of Bounds
#17
Bonus points should be given for capturing a glory (the heightened halo around the shadow figure), and extra bonus points if the glory is rainbow-hued ... :fhtagn:
 

Bigphoot2

Not sprouts! I hate sprouts.
Joined
Jul 30, 2005
Messages
6,659
Likes
17,001
Points
294
#18
Brocken Spectre photographed at Glen Coe. Some lovely images of the phenomenon.

Hillwalker describes 'brocken spectre' on Glen Coe mountain
  • 2 hours ago

Image copyrightCAROL PURCELLImage captionCarol Purcell's brocken spectre on Bidean nam Bian in Glen Coe
A hillwalker has described her experience of a weather effect, known as a brocken spectre, above the clouds on Bidean nam Bian in Glen Coe.
The effect is produced when a person is able to stand above the upper surface of a cloud with the sun behind them.
In the past, the phenomenon was thought to be a supernatural creature dubbed The Big Grey Man of Ben Macdui.
Carol Purcell, from Edinburgh, said the experience was "extraordinary".
etc
https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-highlands-islands-46277410
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Staff member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
10,300
Likes
10,784
Points
284
Location
An Eochair
#21
Very clear how, without an understanding of how it works, it would be distinctly unnerving.
 

Frideswide

Fortea Morgana :) PeteByrdie certificated Princess
Staff member
Joined
Jul 14, 2014
Messages
10,300
Likes
10,784
Points
284
Location
An Eochair
#22
A thought. Are places that accumulate legends of mysterious figures particularly suited to the brocken illlusion?

Higher ground gives you both mist/cloud and angled light.

What else?
 
Last edited by a moderator:

Swifty

doesn't negotiate with terriers
Joined
Sep 15, 2013
Messages
25,661
Likes
31,667
Points
284
#23
A mountaineer walking up Snowdon captured a rare optical illusion which, according to legend, could be bad news for him.
Shane Cross, 44, from Conwy , was walking along Crib Goch on Tuesday when he captured the phenomenon known as a Brocken spectre.

The optical illusion is created when low sun shines behind someone looking down into mist from a ridge.

aspec.jpg

aspec2.jpg

https://www.dailypost.co.uk/news/north-wales-news/snowdon-hiker-captures-rare-illusion-17095648

.. mind you, if both of his arms were outstretched, how did he take this picture or did someone else take it ... unless he used some sort of selfie stick I suppose ..
 
Last edited:
Top