04 November 2008

Is it an angel? Is it Jesus? Is it our Lady of the cruising altitude? No, it's a glory

glory

It's a glorious sight, nevertheless, and even more interesting than the other three.

A glory is a rainbow-like ring most often seen below an airplane, usually on a cloud. I took the above picture on the way to Turkey in October.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

looks like a doughnut...

Anonymous said...

You see them on bare ground as well, though often those are more bright spot and less rainbow, still centered on the shadow of the plane. I think that may be a slightly different, but related phenomenon. Colored glories (as seen in your picture) are produced by spherical drops of water, just like a rainbow. The bright spot on the ground kind, I think are produced by little cubes, like what you get when windshield glass breaks.

Air travel makes them pretty common, but partially obscures the reason for the name. When you see one from the ground it looks exactly like a halo surrounding the head of your shadow. I've seen them most often on dew covered lawns.