Sugar MountaIn Glories

Todd Bush captured this magnificent example.

"The images were taken in the morning atop Sugar Mountain (5236') in western North Carolina, USA. The events were extremely fleeting but graciously repeating. They would last a second or two then disappear as clouds covered the sun, then re-appear if conditions were right. Conditions being clear around the sun, but clouds rolling by just below the summit".

All images ©Todd Bush, shown with permission.
Waves are scattered directly backwards and the glory appears at the antisolar point opposite the sun. For water drops the ray path shown is geometrically impossible but waves can do strange things.
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Sun shining on mist, and a downward looking viewpoint in the direction opposite the sun – the ingredients for a glory.    

Very small (1 to 100 micron diameter) droplets in the mist diffract and scatter the sunlight.     Some waves scatter forwards in almost the same direction to form a corona.   Other waves emerge from the droplets in a backwards direction to produce the multi-ringed glory.

Todd’s glories are accompanied by a straightforward shadow phenomenon – a Brocken Spectre.    The ghostly elongated figure is his three-dimensional shadow stretching through the mist.