Glories are beautiful full-circle rainbows seen above the clouds
Recently on an early morning flight, I witnessed a natural phenomenon I’d never seen — or even heard about before. “Glories” are circular rainbows, similar to halos, but they appear on tops of clouds under the right conditions. Most of the time they appear as a halo around the shadow of an airplane being cast onto a cloud (see some examples of that here). Here’s a great piece about glories from NASA.
In my case, the glory rainbow was pretty far away and I couldn’t detect a shadow of the plane, but perhaps there was enough of a shadow being cast to create the glory rainbow effect.
Conditions at the time of this sighting
On the occasion of my first-ever glory rainbow sighting, my flight was at 35,000 feet — well above the clouds — heading southwest (from Boston to Nashville) right at sunrise on January 4.
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