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The Glory

By: Juan Carlos Casado

 

Region: Europe

Site: Pyrenees - France, Spain

 

Glory is an optical phenomenon appearing like an iconic Saint's halo about the head of the observer, as photographed here from Mount Orhi on Pyrenees at the border of Spain and France. Glories are always directly opposite the sun, centered at the antisolar point and therefore below the horizon except at sunrise/sunset and when looking down from an airplane or a mountain top. The atmospheric phenomena is produced by light backscattered (a combination of diffraction, reflection and refraction) towards its source by a cloud of uniformly-sized water droplets. Glories can be found in mythology and cultural belief. The colorful halo always surrounds the observer's own shadow, and thus was often taken to show the observer's personal enlightenment. For example in China, this phenomenon is called Buddha's light. It was often observed on cloud-shrouded high sacred mountains. Juan Carlos Casado, Starryearth.com

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