Man captures spectacular image of an "angel" in the clouds caused by a rare weather phenomenon

Posted at 9:02 AM, Feb 13, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-13 11:03:17-05

A man in Derbyshire, England captured a photo of a spectacular phenomenon in the sky, and his dazzling photograph has gone viral.

Lee Howdle snapped a picture of what appeared to be an angel with a glowing rainbow halo around its head, hovering in the sky just above the grass.

"Sometimes I Think I Am Lucky," Howdle wrote on Facebook, sharing the now-viral image. "Today I Saw This Rare Weather Phenomenon Called Brocken Spectre. My Shadow And A Circular Rainbow Projected Onto A Low Cloud."

The "angel" Howdle saw was really himself. The phenomenon seems divine – and is is literally classified as a "glory." A glory is a rainbow ring that appears around a shadow.

Glories are often seen from aircraft, when the sun is positioned behind the plane, and the shadow cast forward onto the clouds appears to have a rainbow ring around it, according to Atmospheric Optics.

The Brocken spectre is just one type of glory, where the shadow is being cast on a mountain. If you create a Brocken spectre, "you'll be standing with the sun at your back, gazing at your own haloed shadow cast on fog," Earth and Sky explains.

The human shadow with a rainbow halo around it often looks like an angel. Howdle was hiking on Mam Tor, a hill in Derbyshire, when his angelic shadow appeared.

The phenomenon is also called a Brocken bow or mountain spectre, named after a peak in the Harz Mountains in Germany, called Brocken, a region known for fogs, according to Earth and Sky.