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Brocken spectres on Table Mountain?

21st March 2012 – 1:51 pm

Having been introduced to this fascinating phenomena quite recently (never having heard of it before) I have now been lucky enough to see two brocken spectres on Table Mountain in the last three weeks.  Did I see them before but not realise what it was? Honestly I dont know – I might have thought it was a mini rainbow.  However first let wikipedia explain what it is:
A brocken spectre is a magnified shadow of an observer cast upon the upper surfaces of clouds opposite the sun.  The spectre appears when the sun shines from behind the observer who is looking down from a ridge or peak into mist.   The shadow also falls upon water droplets of varying distances, confusing depth perception.  The head is often surrounded by  glowing halo like rings of light that appear when sunlight is reflected by a cloud of water droplets.
My own description would be more simple  – its a large shadow of you (as the obsever) surrounded by a circle of rainbow like colours – pretty cool!
I cant guarantee any viewing of brocken spectres on Table Mountain – for this we need some cloud which is usually what people dont want.  However bear in mind if you do happen to have a cloudy day your chances of seeing a brocken spectre are far greater.  So if I might say every cloud has a silver lining!

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