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A Rare Phenomenon or Heaven Touching Earth? You Decide

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What started as a hike to capture the first sunrise of 2020 turned out to be something quite unexpected and lead to capturing much more than just a sunrise.


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Every New Years many people look for ways to celebrate. They desire to find a way of commemorating another new beginning. Hiker, Rhys Pleming, was no different. He decided to kick off the new decade by capturing the first sunrise of the new decade. So, accompanied by a friend, they climbed Snowdon, the highest peak in Wales, England.

The morning of January 1st 2020, Rhys and his friend began the trek to the top of the mountain. Rhys arrived at the top around 8:15 am and began taking pictures. As he was capturing the beauty around him, he was given an extremely rare gift, a glimpse of what is known as the Brocken spectre.

According to britannica.com, a Brocken spectre is, “the apparently enormously magnified shadow that an observer casts, when the Sun is low, upon the upper surfaces of clouds that are below the mountain upon which the observer stands.” Basically it is the reflection of a person upon the fog or clouds below when a person is above the clouds on a higher peak. It was named by Johann Silberschlag, a German Lutheran theologian and natural scientist in 1780, after the Brocken, a peak in the Harz mountains of Germany.

Rhys’ photos appear almost supernatural, looking very similar to a shadow of the Christ the Redeemer statue in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The shadow figure in the cloud, quite literally, looks like Jesus is walking through a spherical rainbow to hug you. It’s incredible!

Rhys, told North Wales Live, “I’d only gone to get some pictures of the sunrise, but this was just a bonus. It was a New Year to remember.” It is quite a phenomenal occurrence in nature and certainly unforgettable.