Brocken Spectre in the sky & Rare Reflection Glory by Marko Riikonen (site) Finland on the morning of 16th August '09. ©Marko Riikonen.
Marko had rowed out onto a lake near Joensuu, Finland. It was early morning and the lake was swathed with patchy mist. The eerie colour ringed apparition hanging in the sky is his own shadow. Sun rays reflected upwards from behind him by the calm lake cast the shadow in the sky.   The far greater rarity is the coloured ring - a glory in the sky.

Glories are opposite the sun, the sun is only visible in the sky and therefore glories must be below the horizon!

Not always. This ‘reflection glory’ was produced by the upward going reflected sun rays being backscattered and diffracted by the tiny mist droplets.   In effect the glory is directly opposite a second sun shining upwards from beneath the lake.

Marko’s earlier expedition on 14th August featured in an earlier OPOD shows an upper reflected glory and beneath it a ‘normal’ glory, the latter made by unreflected downward going sun rays.   Marko, an experienced atmospheric optics observer, worked hard for these marvels. Waits for a favourable weather forecast, the sun breaking through the right sort of patchy mist, a mirror calm lake and many early starts.


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Reflections on glories