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Posts Tagged ‘glory’

Glory by Candy

My sister just reminded me that the website spaceweather.com has cloud images as well as sunspot counts — we are in the midst of a long sunspot low, which has strong weather implications, so we had a good conversation about that.

But the interesting thing is that today’s cloud image is a wonderful glory taken over Italy by a man (named Paolo Candy) who wrote a book about glories — in Italian, so I’ve nothing more to say about it. Here is part of the text and image from spaceweather.com.

ITALIAN GLORY: Yesterday, photographers Andrea Alessandrini and Paolo Candy were flying over Italy’s Tirrenum Sea when they looked out the window of their airplane and saw this:

It’s nice because you clearly see the shadow of the plane — and also a long break in the clouds, probably the disturbance of some other airplane.

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Glory

Everyone knows what a rainbow is, but there are many other light displays which are less known and, partly for that reason, less noticed. One is called a glory.

As you know, a rainbow is visible when your back is to the sun, and only in the early morning (not a common time for showers) or in the afternoon — the later, the larger. The reason that a later time gives a larger rainbow is that the sun must be directly behind you, and at any time before sunset, the sun is above and behind you, so part of the rainbow would be below the horizon. If you should climb a mountain and be able to look over a cliff at the rainbow, you would see more of it. Conceivably, you could even see more than a semi-circle; it might begin to close.

And if you were to climb right into the clouds, or above them? That opens new possibilities, and one of them is called a glory. The glory is often a full circle, but it is not as wide as a rainbow. It is composed of cloud droplets, which are much smaller than raindrops and work differently. The angular diameter of a rainbow is about 41° whereas the angular diameter of a glory is less than half that, sometimes as low as 5°.

So as I flew to New Jersey, I was taking pictures of the cloud cover over Lake Michigan, and I noticed some extra color. Here it is:

Glory over Lake Michigan

Glory over Lake Michigan

Note that these clouds are seen from above, not from below, so the blue is the lake, not the sky.

If you look in the lower portion of the image, right of center, you see pale concentric rings of color. If the colors were brighter and if there were a perfectly smooth background, you would be able to see the shadow of the plane.

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