CHICAGO — Viewer Sheri McEachran was skiing in Stevens County, WA, when she noticed something strange: her shadow on the clouds below with what she described as “an orb” of colors surrounding it.
What’s happening here? It’s actually a “glory,” a fascinating optical phenomenon first acknowledged in the mid-1700s by Ecuadoran mountain climbers who noticed their shadows were surrounded by a halo with a prism-like array of colors around it on the clouds below. An article on howstuffworks.com traces the phenomenon’s fascinating history, and how it became to be known as a ‘Pilot’s Glory,’ as it can often be spotted from the sky.
The main cause of glories according to an article in Nature is “wave tunneling,” where electromagnetism from sunlight gets caught in droplets of water, bounces around and eventually shine out as light rays.
After posting Sheri’s photos on Facebook, many others have shared images of glories that they snapped while flying in airplanes across the country. Have you spotted a “glory”? Feel free to click the button below and share your photo with us.