Our previous blog post promised photos taken at the scenic overlook at Hyner State Park in central Pennsylvania. The first gallery image is of a sculpture placed in honor of the work done at Hyner by the Civilian Conservation Corps. The second and third images show the morning sun as it shone through the woods which provide a nice backdrop to the adjacent overlook. The fourth image shows a Brocken spectre, at the bottom – left. You can just make out my shadow at the center of the circular rainbow. A Brocken spectre is a shadow of an observer cast against mist and surrounded by a rainbow. The effect is an illusion as depth perception is altered by the mist causing the shadow to appear more distant and to be interpreted as larger than would otherwise be expected. The spectre may appear when the sun is directly at one’s back and when water droplets are suspended in the air. As the sunlight enters each water droplet it hits the inside surface of the droplet and is reflected back toward the observer. This diffraction of light causes a circular rainbow to form around the shadow. The name Brocken comes from the highest peak of the Northern German Harz Mountains. Legend has it that a climber was once startled by the sudden appearance, in the nearby mists, of a human figure with a ring of light around its head. The climber fell to his death having been frightened by his own shadow and the ring of light which was, of course, his own Brocken spectre. The final image provides a panoramic view of the Susquehanna river valley; the elevation of the river bed is at 195 m (640′) above sea level while the overlook from which these images were taken is at 591 m (1,940′). Clicking any of the gallery images will bring you to a carousel view while the X in the upper left will bring you back to this post.

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