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Photographer shoots "ghost" over Hungarian city

Photo credit: Ladanyi Tamas, used with permission.

Photo credit: Ladanyi Tamas, used with permission.

Daniel Martins
Digital Reporter

Sunday, August 24, 2014, 1:31 PM -

So is this really a ghost, and a giant one, hovering over the town of Veszprem in Hungary?

Well, no, of course, that's silly. What it is, is a really rare and awesome photography phenomenon.

The spectral apparition was shot by Hungarian photographer Ladanyi Tamas, on the morning of August 11. 

Tamas went to the top of a 20-storey building to shoot the municipal buildings of the town's centre, with the sun rising directly behind him, and this is what he came up with. The apparition is actually his own shadow, projected onto the mist.

NASA, which featured the photo as its Astronomy Picture of the Day last week, says the phenomenon is called alternatively "The Glory" or the "Spectre of the Brocken."

According to Polarization.com, when the conditions are right, the observer's shadow is reflected on droplets or vapour in the air, which scatter the light in such a way as to create this optical illusion.

It seems to be more common at higher elevations, and is most often seen by people on airplanes (its "spectre of the Brocken" nickname apparently comes from a peak in Germany where the phenomenon was often seen).

NASA says night sky photographers encounter a similar phenomenon.

As for Tamas, he's an accomplished astronomy and sky photographer in his own right, so check out his website when you have a chance.

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