Sunday, 30 November 2008

The Brocken Spectre

Frost at dawn, as I walked back early over the high fields with the dogs. To the west, deep banks of fog lay darkly over the sea, mist drifting along the Sea Brows, veiling the pines. To the east, the sun rose over the Skiddaw fells. Then I saw myself! A huge shadow on the sea. I waved the dogs' stick, and bright splinters of light spilled out from the moving shadow.
I've never witnessed this phenomenon before. This is the Wikipaedia account:
A Brocken spectre (German Brockengespenst), also called Brocken bow or mountain spectre is the apparently enormously magnified shadow of an observer, cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun. The phenomenon can appear on any misty mountainside or cloud bank, or even from an aeroplane, but the frequent fogs and low-altitude accessibility of the Brocken, a peak in the Harz Mountains in Germany, have created a local legend from which the phenomenon draws its name. The Brocken spectre was observed and described by Johann Silberschlag in 1780, and has since been recorded often in literature about the region.

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