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  • Lara Cox

Morning Mountain Pink

When the sun has risen just high enough to light up our western mountain peaks, but hasn't yet traveled down to the city, the mountains sometimes have a gorgeous glow that I have dubbed Mountain Morning Pink. When I happen to catch this special five to ten minute window on my morning walk, it always gives me a sense of wonder.


This morning I looked it up to see what science is behind nature's morning paintbrush and learned that it's caused by something called Alpenglow. There's an actual name for it and it has the word glow in it! The phenomenon is caused when direct sunlight has traveled through significant amounts of atmosphere due to the curvature of the earth when the sun is low in the morning. Turns out, when sunlight travels through more of the atmosphere, the small blue light rays get scattered and only the longer red light rays can get through, lighting our mountains briefly pink. Now I know the science behind it, but I still think it's magical!

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