Just what did this photographer capture in this 'Ghostly' man of the mountains
Brocken Spectre is actually a person's shadow cast onto low-lying cloudsLight diffraction causes figures to be surrounded by a multi-coloured 'halo'Stunning examples photographed in Ukraine's Chatyr-Dag mountain regionAccording to climbers' superstition, whoever sees one will die the next day
18:48 GMT, 19 December 2012
This eerie ghost-like figure left a group of trekkers stunned when it suddenly appeared over a mountain range, but it was nothing more than the rare natural phenomenon known as a Brocken Spectre.
Ukrainian photographer, Mikhail Baevsky
was part of the trekking group which came across
the unusual spectacle at Chatyr-Dag mountain region, in Crimea,
But the ghostly figure Mr Baevsky photographed is actually his own shadow magnified hundreds of times as it is cast upon the surface of clouds opposite the sun.
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Tricks of the shade: This ghostly figure left a group of trekkers quaking in their walking boots after it appeared in the Ukraine's Chatyr-Dag mountain region
Illusion: The creepy figure which appeared in front of a dramatic mountain
backdrop is actually a natural phenomenon known as a Brocken Spectre
LIGHT FANTASTIC: HOW THE 'HALO' EFFECT IS CREATED
Brocken Spectres are often accompanied by brilliant multi-coloured 'halos' of light around the figure creating an ethereal effect.
Like with a rainbow, this is caused by light refracting through tiny droplets of water in the air.
The phenomenon of refraction, as illustrated on Pink Floyd's Dark Side of the Moon album cover (above), occurs when light rays are bent as they pass through different transparent materials – in this case water and air.
When a beam crosses between the two materials the wavelength of the light changes.
As light is made up of several colors, when it is refracted these colors can bend at different amounts and become individually visible.
The Pink Floyd cover shows a triangular glass prism with a beam of light moving through the two sides causing the different colors to bend and break out in a rainbow.
Water in the air acts as tiny prisms so when light enters the raindrop, it reflects off the sides of the drop and is broken into a spectrum.
Another example of refraction would be a drinking
straw in glass of water. When viewed from the side the straw appears to
be broken at the point it enters the water due to the difference in the
densities of water and air.
The stunning illusions are created when a low sun shines behind someone looking down into fog from a ridge.
The heads of the figures are often surrounded by rings of coloured light, an effect caused by the diffraction of visible light.
To add to the frightening effect, the ghostly figures can sometimes appear to move, often very suddenly, due to the drifting of the clouds.
Photographer Mikhail, 61, a university chemistry lecturer, trekked up to 1,200 metres above the cloud levels to get a glimpse of the phenomenon.
He said: 'I love being out taking pictures and even when it gets down to
some freezing temperatures around -15 degrees I'm still out climbing the
mountains looking for the perfect image.
a scientist, I know the physics behind why this shape happens but
because that day I saw this a few times it was as if I was being chased
by a ghost.
'The beginning of the day was so cloudy that I just presumed that I wouldn't be able to capture anything.
were tempted to turn back at 900 metres because it was so cloudy but
I'm really glad we persevered and carried on heading up as at around
1,200 metres the fog started to clear otherwise I'd never have been able
to see this.'
The Brocken spectre got its name because of early sightings on the Brocken, the highest peak of Germany's Harz Mountains.
can appear on any misty mountainside or cloud bank, or even on some
occasions, from an aeroplane so long as the conditions are right.
Although it may look like the arrival of a spook this is in fact an example of the Brocken Spectre phenomenon
The extraordinary sight is created by the light behind a climber casting their shadow often in an odd triangular shape
The heads of the figures are often surrounded by rings of coloured light, an effect caused by the diffraction of visible light
the ghostly figures can sometimes appear to move rapidly when the cloud
layer moves or there are variations in its density.
scientist Johann Silberschlag first observed the phenomenon in 1780 but
since then they have been seen and recorded many times in the region.
The extraordinary sight involves the light behind a climber casting their shadow often in an odd triangular shape.
The shadow can also fall on water droplets of varying differences from the observer's eye causing confused depth perception.
The clever illusions are created when low sun shines behind someone looking down into fog from a ridge
Photographer Mikhail Baevsky was part of a trekking group who were left stunned when they came across the unusual spectacle at Chatyr- Dag mountain region, in Crimea, Southern Ukraine
mountain climbers though there is a superstition that whoever sees a
Brocken Spectre will die in the mountains the very next day.
The team also headed up Angar-Buran and Eklizi-Burun mountains in search of a sighting.
The region is famous for the stunning landscapes and breath-taking wonders which attract people from all over the world.
VIDEO Have you ever seen this eerie image whilst on a plane
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