Circular rainbow is actually a "glory"

Circular rainbow is actually a

Credit: Stephen Studley

A rainbow bulls-eye, called a "glory," hovers over the breathtaking view from Rattlesnake Ledge.

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by KING 5 News

KING5.com

Posted on June 12, 2013 at 11:47 AM

What looks like a circular rainbow actually has a special name -- a "glory."

KING 5 meteorologist Rich Marriott received this photo from Stephen Studley, who shot it yesterday at Rattlesnake Ledge, a block of rock on the eastern edge of Rattlesnake Ridge.

A glory can often be seen from airplanes when they cast their shadows on the clouds below, Rich says. They can also be seen, as Stephen did, when casting a shadow down onto valley fog or clouds.

The optical phenomenon that creates a glory is different than with a rainbow, and the shadow isn't what makes it work. All you need is to have the sun directly behind you (hence the shadow), and the cloud in front of you must be made up of water droplets of a uniform size of less than 25 microns, Rich says.

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