Glory & Reflection Glory - Imaged in Finland by Marko Riikonen (site) August 14, 2009. �Marko Riikonen, shown with permission.
Glories for connoisseurs. Atmospheric optics expert Marko caught the double glory, one above the horizon, from a boat on an early morning mist swathed lake.

"I must emphasize that although this was visible to the naked eye, the right-hand shot is heavily unsharp masked. I saw a much better one in 1987. Then there were special conditions: the lake fog was not uniform, instead there were fog clouds - like cumulus - with sharp edges and clear sky in between. So, first of all the sun was shining with full vigour from behind as I placed myself before the fog wall and second, the edge of the cloud is a good place to have unisized droplets which gives best glories. After 1987 there has been only more or less uniform fog all over the lake: no full sun shines, no unisized droplets. But I keep living in hope."

Although Marko would like better, these pictures are a major achievement and show a very rarely observed phenomenon.

The ‘ordinary’ glory is the lower one. Mist droplets produced it by backscattering the downward rays of the low sun. Marko was facing away from the sun and the shadow of his head (or rather, the camera shadow) is at the antisolar point and the glory’s centre.

Rays reflected from the lake behind Marko produced the upper glory, the 'reflection glory'. The upward going rays cast a second shadow onto the mist. Droplets in the direction of the antisolar point of the reflected sun – more properly called the anthelic point – backscattered the reflected rays to form the second glory.

Think of the two glories being made by two suns. The first sun above the horizon and shining downwards. The second the same distance below the horizon but shining upwards.

Reflection rainbows form the same way.

More of Marko's day in the next OPOD


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Reflection bows