One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A magnified shadow of an observer, typically surrounded by rainbow-like bands, which may be thrown on to a bank of cloud that is below them (as may happen in a mountain area) when the sun is low.
- ‘The Fuji ‘kami’ is the phenomenon known as goraiko (Brocken specter, in English) that occurs in Japan almost only on the top of Fuji.’
- ‘But if often there be, in the sky, things or beings that move in parallel lines, and, if their betrayals be not mirages, but their shadows cast down upon the haze of this earth, or Brocken spectres, such frequency, or seeming specialization, might be accounted for.’
- ‘The phenomenon is usually referred to as a Brocken spectre as it can often be seen on the Brocken peak in the Hartz mountains of Germany.’
- ‘An early written account of the startling phenomenon know in mountainous districts as the Brocken spectre was provided three centuries ago by John Aubrey in his unpublished work ‘Memoires of Natural Remarques in the County of Wilts.’’
- ‘In May 1887, a paper of mine was read before the Royal Meteorological Society on Brocken spectres and the bows that often accompany them.’
Early 19th century: named after Brocken, where the phenomenon was first reported.
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