The above photo, and the one just below, have been featured recently as the Optics Photo of the Day on the Atmospheric Optics website (http://www.atoptics.co.uk/). Ed Stockard shot both images at Summit Station on Greenland's ice sheet, where he is working this fall.
The Atmospheric Optics website is devoted to explaining and exploring the visual results of light playing on particles in the air--ash, dust, and in Ed's case, ice. The rainbow-colored rings encircling the building form a "glory," explains website curator Les Crowley, the result of "sunlight diffracted almost directly back along its path by very small fog droplets." Click the picture for a better view. Glory indeed.
Visit the Atmospheric Optics website to learn more about optical effects in the atmosphere, and to find out when, how, and where you might be able to see some in person.
A short description of the science behind the optical effect accompanies each image. You may also visit Ed Stockard's flickr page, which he is updating with more lovely images from Summit (http://www.flickr.com/photos/coastaleddy/ ).--Kip Rithner