March - cumulus You are here: Home Photo gallery Atmospheric optics Diffraction phenomena Glory

The glory is the name for colored diffraction rings around the antisolar point (i.e. where the shadow of the observer's head is). The rings occur when the sun (or moon or any light source) shines on a cloud deck or fog bank. The radius of the diffraction rings is dependent on the size of the cloud droplets: the smaller the droplets, the larger the radii. Moreover, the droplets have to be of much uniform size. The glory is believed to be caused by backscattered light rays which skim the edges of a water droplet. Diffraction takes care of the multiple colored rings, like with the corona.

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