By Andrea Romano
January 13, 2020
Roberto Moiola/Sysaworld/Getty Images

You can spot rainbows practically anywhere: reflecting off a cloud, arching over a massive waterfall, or even forming a magical halo around something in the distance (under the right conditions).

One hiker in England was lucky enough to capture footage of the latter. According to the Daily Mail, Adrian Conchie of Knutsford, Cheshire, was walking in the Lake District in northwest England when he saw what is called a Brocken spectre in the distance.

A Brocken spectre is an illusion that appears when the sun is low in the sky. In order to see it, the observer must stand on very high ground and look down on a cloud, mist, or fog, according to the BBC. The result? The appearance of their own shadow with a circular “glory” reflected around it. In Conchie’s case, it looks like it’s circling around his head, like some kind of heavenly halo. You don’t have to be hiking to see it; you just have to be at the right vantage point. And despite its ghostly name (and appearance), it’s a breathtaking natural phenomenon. However, it’s quite rare.

Conchie said he was surprised when he saw the phenomenon on his 11-mile hike at Swirl How. “I had always wanted to see one after seeing pictures online and hearing about how amazing they are from friends,” he told the Daily Mail. “When we got to the summit I looked down and there it was — it was so vivid. I thought it would disappear there and then, but it stayed for a few minutes, it was a really magical experience.”

According to the Daily Mail, Conchie and his hiking friends saw a second Brocken spectre later on in the day as well.

Much like other rainbow phenomena, like rainbow contrails and lunar rainbows, this can only be seen under the right conditions. 

Advertisement