A British hiker has captured a rare celestial phenomenon that appears as if there is an angel in the sky with a majestic rainbow halo cresting its head.
Lee Howdle, a wildlife and nature photographer, captured the divine-looking event last Friday in Peak District National Park in Derbyshire, about 20 miles southeast of Manchester.
The optical illusion is known as the Brocken spectrum, and according to Met Office, it often happens at the top of a mountain when someone is standing above a cloud with the sun behind it. The "angel" in heaven was actually Howdle.
Howdle did not intend to capture the spectrum, he told USA TODAY. He originally wanted to photograph a cloud inversion, or a sea of clouds. But as he descended from Mount Tor, the highest point in the Peak District, he saw his shadow next to him.
"I looked to the left of me ... and there was the specter of Brocken," he told USA TODAY. "My shadow was so long and it was ... in the middle of a circular rainbow. I was shocked and surprised to see her. "
When photographing the area, he had never seen a Brocken ghost before.
"It was like an angel in the sky over the hills, it was pretty magical," he told SWNS.
The rainbow resting on the head of its shadow is known as "glory". For Britannica, it is the result of sunlight diffracted by water droplets in the cloud. They can also be seen on airplanes when they fly in the sun over a layer of clouds, notes Britannica.
"I was on the moon to see that I took some great pictures," Howdle told USA TODAY.
Brocken's ghosts, although rare, are not a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence: A man in Wales found sight on New Years Day while hiking Snowdon, the country's highest mountain, reported the BBC.
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