A sun glitter pattern is formed when the light of the sun is reflected off the surface of ripples in the water. A smooth body of undisturbed water would produce one reflection of the sun. But the chaotic overlay of many ripples on top of each other produces numerous reflections of the disk of the sun constantly appearing, moving, and disappearing. The most recognized, photographed, and written about glitter pattern is the one produced when the light of the setting sun is reflected off an ocean or lake surface. But glitter patterns can be found anywhere there is a liquid reflecting light including Saturn’s moon, Titan, which has lakes of liquid hydrocarbons. In our planet, glitter patterns are used to produce more accurate weather forecasts.
In the video below you can see a glitter pattern in slow motion on the waters of Old Farm Creek in Rockville, Maryland.