Weather News

Photo shows rare glory and fog bow over SA

Ben Domensino, Friday September 10, 2021 - 12:16 EST

It's not every day you get to see a glory AND a fog bow in the sky above South Australia. So, here's a photo of this rare phenomenon to enjoy this Friday from where ever you are in the country.

The photo below was captured by drone pilot and photographer Christopher Handler above South Australia's Rocky Creek Forest, located about an hour outside Adelaide.

Image: Fogbow and glory over Rocky Creek Forest in South Australia. Source: @chris_handler_photography / Instagram

By positioning the drone above a layer of fog, and with the sun directly behind the drone, Christopher was able to witness a phenomenon called a glory.

Glories only occur directly opposite the sun, when the light from the sun is reflected and diffracted by small water droplets in clouds or fog. They appear as small discs of light or concentric coloured rings, which can be seen from the tops of mountains and tall buildings, from aeroplanes and through cameras on drones.

The glory in this photo is also surrounded by a partial fog bow, which is the large grey-white arc forming a semicircle below the horizon. Fog bows form in the same way as rainbows, with light from the sun being reflected and refracted by droplets of water. Fog bows have less colour than rainbows because they are produced by smaller water droplets.

On very rare occasions, the shadow of the observer can appear inside the glory. This is called a Brocken spectre and only happens when the fog is close enough to the observer.

Image: A fog bow with a glory and Brocken spectre near Roque de los Muchachos in Caldera del Taburiente, La Palma. Source: Juris Seņņikovs, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons.

You can read more about glories, fog bows and Brocken spectres in the World Meteorological Organization's International Cloud Atlas.

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