Spectre of the Brocken, 1902.

 
Spectre of the Brocken, 1902.
4 0 c m
 
34cm
actual image size: 26cm x 32cm

Description

Plate taken from G Hellmann's 'Meteorologishch Optik 1000- 1836' (1902). The meteorological phenomenon known as the 'Spectre of the Brocken' (Brockengespenst in German), is caused by diffraction of sunlight by water vapour droplets. It is named after the Brockenberg in the Harz Mountains of Germany, where legend has it, a walker fell to his death upon being startled by the phenomenon, known scientifically as an anticorona. Under the correct atmospheric conditions, the Sun casts a shadow of a person walking on a ridge onto clouds behind him. The shadow is magnified, and appears to move at the same speed as the walker, creating the illusion of a giant spectre stalking the person. The 'spectre' may also be surrounded by rainbow-like rings, as seen in the picture.

Image Details

Image Ref.
 
10311899

© Science Museum / Science & Society Picture Library

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