Thursday, October 7, 2010

Alpenglow...



...on the top of Buffalo Mountain this morning giving an even better accent to the Alpenglow from the rising sun.  Alpenglow is one of the most often misquoted term I have ever known.  Alpenglow is when the sun shines "on" the mountain rather than from behind the mountain.  I even see where experienced and noted writers and journalists use it improperly.  When the sun rises in the east (and it always does) the sun will shine first on the mountains to the west.  That is Alpenglow.  It is not when the sun is going down in the west and the sun goes down behind the mountain giving a halo effect.  It can also refer to the sun shining on the mountains to the east as the sun sets in the west.

Here is one definition: Alpenglow (from GermanAlpengl√ľhen) is an optical phenomenon. When the Sun is just below the horizon, a horizontal red glowing band can sometimes be observed on the opposite horizon. Alpenglow is easiest to observe when mountains are illuminated but can also be observed when the sky is illuminated through backscattering.
Since the Sun is below the horizon, there is no direct path for the light to reach the mountain. Instead, light reflects off airborne snowwater, or ice particles low in the atmosphere. It is this circumstance that separates a normal sunrise or sunset from alpenglow.
Although the term may be loosely applied to any sunrise or sunset light seen on the mountains, true alpenglow is not direct sunlight and is only observed after sunset or before sunrise.

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