A man out hillwalking in the UK managed to capture an incredible weather phenomenon, compared to an "angel in the sky."
Lee Howdle was out walking in the Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, England, a week ago when he witnessed a breath-taking misty shadow, which looked like a person standing with their arms open with a halo around their head. Howdle, an avid photographer, decided to click a picture of what he witnessed with his Canon 5D Mk4 before committing the scenery to his memory. “My shadow looked huge. It was in this circular rainbow,” he told the news agency SWNS. “I took some photos of it and carried on walking. It was like an angel in the sky over the hills, it was quite magical.”
This 'angel in the sky' has a name, which according to Science, is a phenomenon known as a "mountain specter" or "brocken specter", and is featured in the UK's Met Office's "Top Ten Spookiest Weather Conditions" list. Here's a quote from the agency's official blog which explains what the phenomenon is all about: "This effect is produced when an observer stands above the upper surface of a cloud – on a mountain or high ground – with the sun behind them. When they view their shadow the light is reflected back in such a way that a spooky circular ‘glory’ appears around the point directly opposite the sun."
A Guardian article on the phenomenon by Rebecca Cole and Janise Elie goes into more detail and talks about its origins. Here what the authors wrote: "Named after Brocken, the German mountain on which the spectacle was first noted, the specter is an optical illusion created when a magnified shadow of an observer is cast on to a cloud. It often appears on a misty mountain in low light and resembles a huge ghostly figure with a luminous halo of rainbow-colored rings, which is caused by the diffraction of light." The illusion is so terrifying that it has etched itself into the German folklore. According to the legend, a man was on an early morning walk on the Brocken mountain when he witnessed a giant shadowy figure presiding over him. Frightened by this prospect, the man decided to jump off the mountain to his death.
Howdle stood on Mam Tor, a 1,696-feet hill in the High Peak area of the National Park when he encountered the unusual “Brocken specter.” “I have never seen this before in my life. I read about it once on the internet,” he told SWNS. "It’s really amazing and I feel very blessed to have captured such a magical moment."
Here is some of the best evidence of the internet witnessing the weather phenomenon:
I saw a Brocken specter at Mt, Todo Yama in Gujohachiman in foggy day, It was very mystical view, This mountain is located behind Gujo city government. We can look down Gujohachiman castle here. #visitjapan #gujohachiman pic.twitter.com/pddwhxUWLh— Kentaro in water town Gujo (@kentaroatgujo) December 25, 2018