Who’s There in the Fog?

Shadow in a Glory: a Brocken specter at Grisedale Pike (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

17 November 2022

Last weekend Chris Randall @ultrapeakschris tweeted a video of a shadowy figure walking in step with him in the fog. At first he thought it was another person. Instead it was a Brocken specter with a faint rainbow halo called a glory.


Wikipedia describes: A Brocken spectre is the magnified shadow of an observer cast in mid air upon any type of cloud opposite a strong light source (such as the sun). If the cloud consists of backscattered water droplets, a bright area and halo-like rainbow rings called a glory can be seen around the head or apperature silhouette. The phenomenon was named for Brocken Peak in Germany where it frequently occurs.

Sometimes the specter appears to hover in the sky like an angel as did this one with a triple glory that appeared to a mountain climbing team in Tajikistan.

Brocken spectre above the horizon, Peak Ozodi, Aug 2006 (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Perhaps you’ve seen a Brocken specter from an airplane. I have, but I didn’t know what it was called.

Brocken specter and glory seen from an airplane over San Francisco area (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

And finally, you can create a Brocken specter in nighttime fog if you work at it. The caption on this photo says: “On an exceptionally foggy night, I parked my car at one end of the parking lot, facing into the lot, and covered one headlight with a floor mat. Standing before the uncovered light, I photographed the shadow that I was thus casting into the fog : a Brocken spectre.”

Brocken specter in California fog at night (photo from Wikimedia Commons)

Who’s there in the fog? It’s you!

(photos from Wikimedia Commons; click on the captions to see the originals)

3 thoughts on “Who’s There in the Fog?

  1. WOW! How cool is this? I had never heard of it before. It would freak me out, I’m sure! I have seen one of a plane, but I too did not know what it was at the time. Super cool report, Kate. Have a wonderful day!

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