Category Archives: glory and spectre of Brocken

Perspectively broken shadow

When there are swelling cloud parts on the surface of an unbroken cloud cover, it sometimes can happen that the shadow of a pole projected onto this cloud cover appears kind of broken. I could observe such a shadow broken perspectively on August 18, 2007, at 18.15 hours CET on the top of Mt. Wendelstein (1835m), when the shadow of the transmitting aerial of the Bavaria Broadcast fell upon such a cloud cover, surrounded by a glory which appeared three-dimensional.

Author: Claudia Hinz, Brannenburg, Germany

Divergent light fogbow

Observed at Tuula (Estonia) on 10th September at 00:30. The fog condition was perfect at the time for the glory””s rings merge into multiple supernumeraries. But the location was perfect as well which is surrounded by forest from east and west side generating the wind tunnel to blow the fog from the bog field in north or from the river in south. As long as I remember this location has been always very foggy and has been often flooded in spring-time. The light source I used was Johnlite-2940, which makes the car””s headlights a joke.

I also observed a very bright and colourful glory and took some close-ups.


at 43mm.

Here still photos with 24mm and 30mm.

Author: Marko Krusel

Tunnel Glory in Italy

Gerald Berthold spent the beginning of October in the South Tyrol, Italy. On 5th October 2006 he climbed the 2778m high Piccolo Lagazuio. The descent leads partly through tunnels dating to the First World War. Where they breakthrough the mountainside they give fantastic views of the Dolomites. On one of these galleries the sun shone along the tunnel through fog which developed because the humidity and lower temperature inside. In this formed a spectre of the Brocken with a spectacular multiple ringed glory (the camera is pointing away from the sunlight direction). The glory seemed almost graspable and was sensationally bright.

Artificial Spectre in Brocken Mountains

This artificial Spectre of Brocken with fogbow was taken April 14, 2003 in the Brocken Mountains in central Germany. A helium lamp, positioned behind the photographer, was used to illuminate this very thick fog layer – the visibilty was less than about 5 m. The great size of the Brocken Spectre results from the shadow not lying in one plane but rather extending over a depth of several metres.

Spooky greetings from the ghost heaven!!!

[Posted by Claudia Hinz]

Polarized fogbow in car headlights

I spent the past summer at Langmuir Laboratory on the Magdalena Mountains, in southwest-central New Mexico (USA) at an elevation of 3.2 km. The purpose of this was thunderstorm research. The monsoon here was unusually wet and on several days and nights the mountain laboratory was actually foggy. This is relatively rare considering the New Mexico climate. I took this opportunity to view polarized fogbows in my car”s headlights, and on September 2nd, I was particularly successful.

When I programmed a Mie simulation algorithm late last year and plotted a polarized fogbow on my screen, I was surprised that the polarized bow looked as it did, with the typical Brewster”s angle ”gap” in the main bow for parallel polarization. How excited I was to see that the actual fogbow indeed looked like the simulation! I had never seen it before in nature.

I am sure this has been done before by someone else, but I thought I would post the images anyway.

I covered up one of the car”s headlamps as to not have a double bow. I positioned myself about 50 meters in front of the truck, which I had parked on a slight inclination so the bow would be better visible against a featureless sky and be more complete. The fisheye lens was equipped with a polarizer at the place in the lens where the rays go parallel.

The simulation I made earlier, for a 10 micrometer radius droplet. It looks sharper because I assumed a point light source, assumed a monodisperse droplet distribution, and it was not divergent light. It is not a perfect match either considering the placement of the supernumeraries: probably the droplets in the actual display were a bit smaller. Because of the divergent light source, and because I don”t know the distance to the truck accurately, I doubt I will ever be able to accurately tell the actual droplet radii in the display.

The polarized glory was also obvious, but my shadow was blocking most of the part that was most polarized. I am including the unpolarized glory here.

The close-ups of the polarized and unpolarized fogbow were made with a 24mm/2.8 lens. The camera was a Canon 300d (modified version – i.e. with IR filter removed). I did not need to adjust the brightness and contrast much to get the results as displayed here. The fogbow had good contrast by itself.

About 10 days later I documented a natural fogbow in sunlight from the laboratory, through a polarizer. I photographed that with film; I have not processed those photos yet.

[Posted by Harald Edens]

Brocken Spectre in sea fog

On March 24th 2005, Thorsten Gaulke was sailing homeward bound from Oslo to Kiel on a scarcely four month old ship called “Color Fantasy”. The ship entered an area of sea fog no higher than the ship formed by the cooling effect of the cold Baltic waters. With the sun to his back he was able to observe his Brocken Spectre surrounded by a bright glory. There is a trace of a much large glory-like phenomenon that might have resulted from much smaller droplets. Alternatively it could be a fragment of an inner supernumerary of the surrounding fogbow.

Fogbow with supernumeraries and Glory

This fogbow and glory was photographed by Ken Tape on May 12, 2006 while descending to a place called “Isachsen” located at 79 degrees North in the Canadian archipelago. The display and descent lasted for about 10 minutes, and the strength of the bows was fairly constant throughout. The intensity of the fogbow supernumeraries was strengthened by the use of a polarization filter. Note that the color sequence in the supernumeraries – blue outside – is reversed compared to that in the main maximum. The shadow in the glory is of a Twin Otter on skis. Nikon D70 with old 20mm lens (effective 30mm).

Posted by Ken Tape, edited by Günther Können

Cloud droplet phenomena

This image shows how light scattering by small cloud droplets produces multiple effects that are actually all part of the same phenomena. The scene was taken by Leigh Hilbert in Washington State in January ’06. The shadow of the descending aircraft is surrounded by a bright glory (1, 2) centred just behind the wing where Leigh was seated. Much further from the aircraft shadow is a circular cloud bow (1, 2), a form of fogbow (1, 2), produced also by scattering by cloud water droplets. The classical light paths producing it are those of the rainbow (1,2,3) but diffraction by the small droplets produces something much broader and almost lacking in colour. Inside the main cloudbow is a supernumerary arc that, characteristically for cloudbows and fogbows, has more colour saturation than the primary. The more distant clouds at the image top have produced a narrower cloudbow indicating that their droplets were larger.

Posted by Les Cowley

Bright Fogbow with serveral supernumerary arcs

On October 3, 2005, on the Wendelstein mountain (1834 m) a very bright fogbow with several supernumerary arcs appeared during the partial solar eclipse. In the centre of the fogbow there also appeared the spectre of the Brocken in variable intensity and size, according to the distance to the clouds. The spectre was also surrounded by a bright glory. Using a polarization filter, Carolin Baumann made this impressive photograph.