The Glory

| 96 Comments
IMG_0755_Glory_600.jpg

The glory – seen from an airplane.

Enough of biology! Another optical phenomenon. The dark line to the right is the contrail. Contrast has been enhanced.

96 Comments

And at the center of that, though too small to see, is the shadow of the airplane. When seen from mountaintops, the shadow of your body can be large enough to see, and is known as “the Spectre of the Brocken”

Do a google image search for “spectre of the Brocken” http://images.google.com/images?gbv[…]&start=0

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Sane person translation:

I promise not to viciously and cruelly destroy every living creature on the face of the earth ever again. At least not by flood; who knows what else I can come up with.

This and other similar phenomena are discussed in the book “Science from Your Airplane Window” by Elizabeth A. Wood - see http://www.amazon.com/Science-Your-[…]p/0486232050

Once, when I was flying from Spitzbergen to Oslo, I looked out the window and saw what I thought was a perfect reflection of the Sun in the clouds beneath (which I thought was impossible). It had disappeared by the time I grabbed my camera, but I wonder if this was what I saw. I just didn’t see the coloured rings. Pity the book by Elizabeth Wood isn’t available.

Wayne Robinson said:

Once, when I was flying from Spitzbergen to Oslo, I looked out the window and saw what I thought was a perfect reflection of the Sun in the clouds beneath

This might have been a “sun dog,” usually seen from the ground as as a pair of images at either side of the sun, and sometimes a third image above the sun. Sun dogs result from refraction in ice-laden air.

Paul Burnett said:

This and other similar phenomena are discussed in the book “Science from Your Airplane Window” by Elizabeth A. Wood - see http://www.amazon.com/Science-Your-[…]p/0486232050

There is another book by Robert Greenler called Rainbows, halos, and glories that used to be quite popular. Greenler was a physicist, so this book contains a lot of the physics of these phenomena.

One thing I’ve found interesting is that from a plane (or possibly from a mountain as well?) a rainbow can be a complete circle. From the ground it’s usually just the upper half of a circle due to being interrupted by the ground.

RDK said:

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Sane person translation:

I promise not to viciously and cruelly destroy every living creature on the face of the earth ever again. At least not by flood; who knows what else I can come up with.

OK, here’s my $.02 worth on biblical rainbow physics:

Then there’s the rainbow. If you want to hear some really creative additions to Genesis, ask a young-Earther how there could be no rainbows for a couple thousand years, until after the Flood. You may get some truly bizarre planetary climate models, involving such things as water soaking up through the ground to keep plants alive (let’s see–if there is so much water underground that it soaks UP to the surface, isn’t that what we call a bog? Some paradise!),or a “vapor canopy” that watered the Earth with a kind of fog, then fell as the Flood rains. If you think conditions on Venus are hellish, try modeling the atmospheric conditions on an Earth with all the gigatons of ocean water added to the atmosphere! If Adam’s descendants were protected from such incredible temperatures and pressures (the natural physical result of such super-greenhouse conditions) by some sort of miraculous intervention, then again this is not creation science, just creation magic. (I’ve heard creationists attribute the mythical long life spans of Old Testament notables to such atmospheric conditions. I invite them to try it for themselves to see if it promotes longevity.) But the purpose of the rainbow is what really puzzles me. God states (and repeats–Noah must have been a slow learner [or chronically drunk?]) that the rainbow signifies a promise by God that He will never flood out the whole Earth again. Most creationists I know are dead certain that God WILL destroy the Earth (and soon!), but just not with water next time (most seem to favor fire, but personally I expect it to be peanut butter [extra chunky]). But wait–if God reserves the right to destroy all mankind, then what’s the point of promising not to use water again? We won’t be drowned again, but burnt to cinders? Thanks a lot.

And yet more rainbow nonsense: God states multiple times that it will be in a cloud, He will “set [His] bow in the cloud.” Rainbows aren’t formed or seen “in clouds.” They appear when the sun shines on raindrops and is refracted back at the proper angle to the viewer. They are often seen against a backdrop of clouds, but they are not in the clouds. As a matter of fact, the rainbow doesn’t even exist where it appears to be! It’s an optical illusion that’s “in” the light reaching viewers at the proper angle from sun and rain. You can fly a plane through the exact spot where a ground viewer reports seeing a rainbow. You won’t see anything around you but air and water. You can also make your own rainbows with a garden hose in full sunlight–no clouds required at all. One more: God states unequivocally that the rainbow is to remind Him of the no-Flood clause. If God has such a faulty memory that He needs such cosmic Post-it Notes, we’re in BIG trouble.

When I visited Victoria falls a few years back we got treated to a double rainbow, one right above the other. It was really spectacular.

And at the center of that, though too small to see, is the shadow of the airplane.

Now that you mention it, I don’t know why you can’t see the shadow of the airplane. Because the sun’s rays are collimated, the shadow is the same size as the airplane itself, and we can easily see airplanes high in the sky. Possibly, the shadow is washed out because the clouds are so far away and because the sunlight is not perfectly collimated. A rough calculation based on an angular subtense of 1/2 degree and a distance of 30,000 feet suggests that the shadow would be wholly washed out. But check for yourself; I can’t do arithmetic.

Olorin said:

Wayne Robinson said:

Once, when I was flying from Spitzbergen to Oslo, I looked out the window and saw what I thought was a perfect reflection of the Sun in the clouds beneath

This might have been a “sun dog,” usually seen from the ground as as a pair of images at either side of the sun, and sometimes a third image above the sun. Sun dogs result from refraction in ice-laden air.

Yes, it does look like what I remembered. I’m not certain what the position of the Sun was (I thought it was actually above). I suppose I’ll never see one from a ‘plane again to check where the Sun is located.

I suspect that the shadow could be washed out by a small amount of scattering. In other words, light shining through the atmosphere is a bit diffuse and may not stay collimated.

…and its your, personal Spectre - like a rainbow each one is unique for the particular optical alignment between you, the sun, and the scattering, so what you see isn’t quite the same as the thing the person next to you sees.

What a coincidence! I saw this exact thing on a trip last week. I figured the circle for a kind of rainbow effect, but I hadn’t a clue about the trailing dark line. Thanks for explaining it.

Yes, but what’s the golden cross shape in the left of the picture, pointing up to the left at about a 30 degree angle? :-)

I still don’t get it.… No matter which way I turn it or how hard I squint and I still don’t see Jesus.

Just Bob said:

RDK said:

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Sane person translation:

I promise not to viciously and cruelly destroy every living creature on the face of the earth ever again. At least not by flood; who knows what else I can come up with.

But the purpose of the rainbow is what really puzzles me. God states (and repeats–Noah must have been a slow learner [or chronically drunk?]) that the rainbow signifies a promise by God that He will never flood out the whole Earth again. Most creationists I know are dead certain that God WILL destroy the Earth (and soon!), but just not with water next time (most seem to favor fire, but personally I expect it to be peanut butter [extra chunky]). But wait–if God reserves the right to destroy all mankind, then what’s the point of promising not to use water again? We won’t be drowned again, but burnt to cinders? Thanks a lot.

This could make sense if you consider that the early Jews didn’t necessarily believe in a future “Judgment Day”. I think I read that that idea was introduced later by the Persians.

eric said:

When I visited Victoria falls a few years back we got treated to a double rainbow, one right above the other. It was really spectacular.

I agree, double rainbows are an amazing sight - I observed one outside my home last year.

Once I was lucky enough to see a triple rainbow forming. The second rainbow formed outside of the primary and then a third formed inside the primary. I guess God was really pushing the message hard that day about not drowning humanity. ;o)

YEC here. Its a interesting point for biblical creationists that since it seems from scripture the rainbow did not exist until the end of the flood then this evidence of a different nature to the atmosphere. So what was before was not what was after and what was after is not a accurate trail to past nature. This also comes up with the long lives that people had back in the day.

I saw one of these a few years ago flying a small plane over Goodwood. Until now I didn’t know that it was called a Glory but thought it was an artifact caused by sunlight shining through the propeller onto the clouds below because we flew the plane down straight through the bull’s eye - a weird sensation.

Don’t be silly Robert. From reading all your previous posts I am under the impression you really do take the OT a bit too literally sometimes. You will be tell us that it is evidence the earth once had corners and stood on pillars next.

Enough said from this lurker! I leave the option of “troll-slaying” and/or feeding to those more learned in the ways of science than myself.

The dark line to the right is the contrail.

Is this a contrail (where condensation occurs in a clear sky and produces a line of “cloud”). Or is it a distrail (where the cloud is dispersed forming a hole or a clear line in a layer of cloud)?

My immediate reaction was it was a distrail (apparently no cloud) but

Contrast has been enhanced.

So perhaps the picture is confusing. Any comments?

And yet more rainbow nonsense: God states multiple times that it will be in a cloud, He will “set [His] bow in the cloud.” Rainbows aren’t formed or seen “in clouds.” They appear when the sun shines on raindrops and is refracted back at the proper angle to the viewer.

True, but in this case the roundel is formed on the surface of the top of the clouds - as seen from above.

Just Bob said:

RDK said:

I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth.

Sane person translation:

I promise not to viciously and cruelly destroy every living creature on the face of the earth ever again. At least not by flood; who knows what else I can come up with.

OK, here’s my $.02 worth on biblical rainbow physics:

Then there’s the rainbow. If you want to hear some really creative additions to Genesis, ask a young-Earther how there could be no rainbows for a couple thousand years, until after the Flood. You may get some truly bizarre planetary climate models, involving such things as water soaking up through the ground to keep plants alive (let’s see–if there is so much water underground that it soaks UP to the surface, isn’t that what we call a bog? Some paradise!),or a “vapor canopy” that watered the Earth with a kind of fog, then fell as the Flood rains. If you think conditions on Venus are hellish, try modeling the atmospheric conditions on an Earth with all the gigatons of ocean water added to the atmosphere! If Adam’s descendants were protected from such incredible temperatures and pressures (the natural physical result of such super-greenhouse conditions) by some sort of miraculous intervention, then again this is not creation science, just creation magic. (I’ve heard creationists attribute the mythical long life spans of Old Testament notables to such atmospheric conditions. I invite them to try it for themselves to see if it promotes longevity.) But the purpose of the rainbow is what really puzzles me. God states (and repeats–Noah must have been a slow learner [or chronically drunk?]) that the rainbow signifies a promise by God that He will never flood out the whole Earth again. Most creationists I know are dead certain that God WILL destroy the Earth (and soon!), but just not with water next time (most seem to favor fire, but personally I expect it to be peanut butter [extra chunky]). But wait–if God reserves the right to destroy all mankind, then what’s the point of promising not to use water again? We won’t be drowned again, but burnt to cinders? Thanks a lot.

And yet more rainbow nonsense: God states multiple times that it will be in a cloud, He will “set [His] bow in the cloud.” Rainbows aren’t formed or seen “in clouds.” They appear when the sun shines on raindrops and is refracted back at the proper angle to the viewer. They are often seen against a backdrop of clouds, but they are not in the clouds. As a matter of fact, the rainbow doesn’t even exist where it appears to be! It’s an optical illusion that’s “in” the light reaching viewers at the proper angle from sun and rain. You can fly a plane through the exact spot where a ground viewer reports seeing a rainbow. You won’t see anything around you but air and water. You can also make your own rainbows with a garden hose in full sunlight–no clouds required at all. One more: God states unequivocally that the rainbow is to remind Him of the no-Flood clause. If God has such a faulty memory that He needs such cosmic Post-it Notes, we’re in BIG trouble.

Just a few days ago, I was tossing a baseball around with my two boys. I threw a nice “pop fly” and as my son moved to get under the ball to make the catch, he just stopped, the ball hit the ground, and I was like wtf? He said “look up at the cloud” and damn if there wasnt a really cool rainbow in the cloud. Not your typical rainbow, it was confined to the cloud. I got some good shots of it. I would certainly share the pics if anyone wants to see them. (from an older 3.1 mp camera but they came out really good)

I guessed this was a glory of sorts. Not real sure what the proper definition is for a glory. I thought they were seen from planes and/or mountain tops.

Not real familiar with the format for quoting here, so I replied to the entire post. This is to rebutt the notion that you dont see rainbows in clouds. I just did and have the evidence.

Flounder said:

I still don’t get it.… No matter which way I turn it or how hard I squint and I still don’t see Jesus.

No, but if you squint you might see a noodly appendage. ;-)

Seriously, this reminds me that, sadly, few people I know personally are fellow “unweavers” (per Dawkins, those who find the rainbow more attractive, not less, when adding the “cold, dry” science). Not many are evolution-deniers, but neither are they interested in evolution or science. But I always fear that their way of thinking IMO makes them susceptible to evolution-denial if they are fed sufficient feel-good sound bites.

My intense interest in evolution, and natural history in general, took off in 1989, when I hiked the Grand Canyon. Imagining the 1-2 billion years of sedimentation, erosion, and life forms that came and went, made me appreciate the scenery that much more.

Shelldigger said:

Just a few days ago, I was tossing a baseball around with my two boys. I threw a nice “pop fly” and as my son moved to get under the ball to make the catch, he just stopped, the ball hit the ground, and I was like wtf? He said “look up at the cloud” and damn if there wasnt a really cool rainbow in the cloud. Not your typical rainbow, it was confined to the cloud. I got some good shots of it. I would certainly share the pics if anyone wants to see them. (from an older 3.1 mp camera but they came out really good)

I guessed this was a glory of sorts. Not real sure what the proper definition is for a glory. I thought they were seen from planes and/or mountain tops.

Not real familiar with the format for quoting here, so I replied to the entire post. This is to rebutt the notion that you dont see rainbows in clouds. I just did and have the evidence.

But again, was it IN a cloud, or just seen against a backdrop of clouds? Unless it was a pretty thin cloud, I’m not sure how you could see something IN the cloud anyway. I mean that’s where all those fighter pilots flee to in every dogfight movie when their guns jam!

And Byers: Thanks for a great example of what YECs do when faced with literal absurdities in the OT–you just make shit up.

Robert Byers said:

YEC here. Its a interesting point for biblical creationists that since it seems from scripture the rainbow did not exist until the end of the flood then this evidence of a different nature to the atmosphere.

Yes, Robert, that is true.

It is evidence of a different atmosphere, or at least a different environment.

Unfortunately, it is evidence of an environment that humans couldn’t survive, an environment where nobody ever witnessed significant water vapor in the air. Basically, a planet where it never rained and where no mechanism ever threw finely atomized water into the air on a sunny day.

Now, much of the Middle East is pretty dry (although it was probably much more forested in Biblical times) but never seeing a rainbow requires a hard-core Dune type desert.

That doesn’t square with the original Garden of Eden image. I suspect they had water (you can see for yourself at the Creation Museum. They have a historically accurate diorama of Adam and Eve standing in a waterfall surrounded by tiny dinosaurs - Eve was pretty hot, apparently).

And an extremely dry environment also doesn’t explain the myriad of rain-forest animals that Noah apparently saved, animals that can only live in a moist environment (tropical frogs, for example) and, more importantly, it doesn’t explain how Noah would would have grown up in the equivalent of the modern Sahara, would have even known what a “boat” was, much less be able to guess how to build one.

Robert once again illustrates one of the most annoying traits of creationists. The idea that they “win” the argument if they just make up an explanation, without any curiosity at all to further explore whether or not said explanation actually makes any sense.

That’s how they like to play the game.

They don’t actually feel the need to get out on the field and make the goal. Actually doing that requires hard work. Instead, they just want to jot down a point in their column of the scorecard and claim the game is now a tie.

Richard:

We won’t be drowned again, but burnt to cinders? Thanks a lot.

Genesis 9:

21 The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: “Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though [a] every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done.

22 “As long as the earth endures, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

Actually, right before the Rainbow chapter, god promises himself that he will never “destroy all living creatures” again and that the earth will always have harvests.

Which means, there should never be an Endtimes destruction again like the Rapture Monkeys fervently believe.

This is just another of the hundreds of contradictions in the bible. There is no such thing as a biblical literalist. It is impossible. They all just pick and choose between the contradictions.

Some of them end up lying a lot and twisting their minds into pretzels like some of the lunatic fundies that show up here. Some, when given a choice between the impossible task of attempting to believing in all of it or none of it, choose NONE.

Biblical inerrancy and literalism might not destroy US xianity. But it is doing it some serious damage.

raven said:

Which means, there should never be an Endtimes destruction again like the Rapture Monkeys fervently believe.

No, he said that he wouldn’t destroy all living creatures.

Yes, he might leave most of the planet a desolated, post-apocalyptic wasteland where the only people left spend their days wandering from one dead midwestern town to the next in long coats and cool sunglasses, bartering gasoline, delivering old mail and having slow-motion swordfights with zombies in dramatic silhouette.

But just so long as the ocean-vent tubeworms are safe and happy, God has kept his word.

But just so long as the ocean-vent tubeworms are safe and happy, God has kept his word.

“seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night will never cease.”

That would only work if those tubeworms develop agriculture and start planting and harvesting crops.

There is another loophole though. “As long as the earth endures”. Which means that god could just destroy the whole planet. The Nonenduring Earth doctrine.

There is another problem with god claiming to never again destroy all living creatures. He never did in the first place. Hundreds of thousands of plants, fungi, protists, fish, crustaceans, cephalopods, and prokaryotes made it through as well as the Ark animals.

GvlGeologist, FCD said:

Even more strongly, I wanted to see it myself, so I did the same thing, and tested it myself. Sometimes I think that creationists simply have no curiosity about the world itself, and would rather have someone tell them what’s what. They’d rather read something in a book and (literally) take it as gospel without checking into it themselves, or even look into contradictory claims.

This certainly seems to be one of the more common and persistent traits of ID/creationists.

They will argue incessantly over minutia and word meanings, but are never curious about underlying mechanisms and general scientific theories and the implications of these theories in specific cases. Everything is bent to fit dogma no matter how inconsistent and incompatible it becomes within itself and with the real universe.

One of the more interesting things about science that I started to appreciate more and more as I age is that I can recover forgotten minutia and work my way back to long forgotten details just by having the few fundamental and easily remembered physics and other scientific concepts firmly in place. What this has meant for me in physics is to have the fundamentals of math firmly in place, and then to have the bare-bones but deep structure of physical theory in place as well. With that fundamental stuff and an occasional reference point, I can usually find my way. And it’s pretty.

ID/creationists have none of that; so anything that sounds good to them must be true. But what they end up with is a mish-mash of cobbled-together inconsistencies that takes them nowhere. What a horrible, chaotic world they carry with them into their senior years.

At the moment I am just playing around with aperture shapes, periodic apertures and convolutions of apertures with periodic grating structures to refresh my memory.

To a first approximation, all you need to consider is a single slit. The far-field pattern is a sinc function (sin(x)/x, for the uninitiated). Assume temporally incoherent light and add the intensities of the sinc functions that correspond to each wavelength. You will probably find that the color near the blue minimum is approximately the complement of blue. It has nothing to do with the retroreflection you see in the glory.

The colors of the rainbow, by the way, are due to refraction and are essentially the colors of a prism, so I assume that they are not the complements.

Matt Young said:

To a first approximation, all you need to consider is a single slit. The far-field pattern is a sinc function (sin(x)/x, for the uninitiated). Assume temporally incoherent light and add the intensities of the sinc functions that correspond to each wavelength. You will probably find that the color near the blue minimum is approximately the complement of blue. It has nothing to do with the retroreflection you see in the glory.

The colors of the rainbow, by the way, are due to refraction and are essentially the colors of a prism, so I assume that they are not the complements.

Yup; already way past that. It’s all coming back rather quickly. I guess I’m not as old as I thought. :-)

I just have to shed the interruptions.

I had mentioned earlier about looking for explanations for the layperson.

Matt’s last comment to me was a confirmation of what I was already recovering from long lost memories and details. But it is more technical.

Basically the explanation for the complementary colors in any spectrum comes from a mixing of wavelengths.

In the case of a prism or diffraction grating, different wavelengths of light get sent in different directions. The mechanisms for doing this are different in these two examples, but in the ideal case, each wavelength gets sent off to a unique angle. When they strike a screen or enter an eye, we see the rainbow colors of ROYGBV with each wavelength occupying its own “slot” in the spectrum.

It turns out that the eye responds not only to single wavelengths in the way we see the rainbow colors, but it also responds to mixtures of wavelengths. In the RBG to CMY description, equal amounts of G + B = C which is the compliment of R. Similarly R + B = M which is the compliment of G. R + G = Y which is the compliment of B.

R, G, and B can also be mixed in various proportions to produce just about any color you like. You can play with this using Paint. Click on Colors, Edit Colors, and Define Custom Colors to get at a panel you can experiment with to get the idea.

Now, in these cases of rainbow spectra and complement spectra, various physical mechanisms in the optical path of the white light can conspire to send one or more wavelengths into the same angle. What is more, these can be sent in various proportions. That mixture of wavelengths at a given angle is what the eye sees as a complementary color or grey or something else.

There different but equivalent ways of describing these complementary spectra. Either they can be described as mixtures of colors (wavelengths), or they can be described as subtractions of various amounts of RGB from white light. If you Google “complimentary colors”, you can find a number of different “color systems” used in the “color industry.”

Way, way back when I was doing Fourier optics and holography, computers were those big clunky things that occupied large rooms and you walked up to a window with a deck of punched cards to get anything done. Some of the older folks here will remember the bureaucratic politics and inner sanctums of computer priests who controlled access to those domains. There was no such thing as computer graphics. And it cost you money every time you intruded into the domains of these priesthoods.

So we didn’t get to explore all the simple little demos we can play with now using Maple, Mathematica, MathCad, or other software while sitting at our desk. Even graphing calculators now have more capability than we had access to back then. So, for me, this little trip down memory lane in a modern vehicle has been a lot of fun.

It’s Newtons rings from the plastic inner pane of the window.

Matt McIrvin said:

Shelldigger, how were the colors arranged? Was it a really big rainbow pattern with horizontal bands of color, taking the shape of the wispy cloud?

That’s a circumhorizontal arc; they are formed by light refracting in a certain way through ice crystals shaped like horizontally oriented hexagonal plates (if conditions are right, they’ll orient themselves that way as they fall through the air). I’ve seen one once, and it was very pretty. Those wispy cirrus clouds are made of ice crystals, and the circumhorizontal arc is a large enough arc that the colors often cover the entire cloud.

There was a widely circulated email a while back showing a picture of one and calling it a “fire rainbow”, which is a misnomer.

Yes. Sort of… It was a circumzenithal arc. I finally got around to doing some googling! The cloud involved was picture worthy all by itself. The arc was well defined and spanned the width of the cloud.

Funny thing is, a week after I saw the first one, I saw another. By the time I got home to a camera, it had dissipated to a small uninteresting band of color. The first one I captured was pretty awesome.

…I thought this thread had died out a week ago!

About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Matt Young published on January 25, 2010 12:00 PM.

Thin reeds was the previous entry in this blog.

But it is Still a Robot! is the next entry in this blog.

Find recent content on the main index or look in the archives to find all content.

Categories

Archives

Author Archives

Powered by Movable Type 4.361

Site Meter