Interesting Photo of the Day: Matterhorn Alpenglow in the Swiss Alps

At 14,690 feet (4,478 meters) in height and boasting four steep faces surrounded by glaciers, the Matterhorn is one of the tallest and most dangerous peaks in the Alps. It’s also one of the most sought after. Throughout history, the mountain’s fierce terrain has killed over 500 alpinists, but masses of undaunted mountaineers attempt to climb to the summit every year.

The Matterhorn is the most prominent peak in this photograph, covered in the red glow of morning:

matterhorn switzerland alps alpenglow sunrise mountains snow swiss

“Morning Fire of Matterhorn” by Karol Nienartowicz. (Via Imgur. Click to See Full Size.)

This natural phenomenon is called alpenglow, which occurs when the sun is still below the horizon line, but its light reflects off of moist air particles in the atmosphere. While the term can be loosely used to describe any sort of fiery sunrise or sunset light cast on mountains, true alpenglow happens just before sunrise or just after sunset.

The photo was created by Karol Nienartowicz, a mountain photographer based in Gdansk, Poland. Nienartowicz combines his passion for mountaineering with his photography skill to fund his travels.

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2 responses to “Interesting Photo of the Day: Matterhorn Alpenglow in the Swiss Alps”

  1. jim wilson says:

    This is not alpenglow. This is the first ray of light directly from the sun. Alpenglow as the name implies is before sunrise or after sunset when the glow from the horizon illuminates the landscape. With alpenglow there is warm light everywhere and not all this blue stuff.

  2. Tiberman Sajiwan Ramyead says:

    Jim Wilson – according to my iMac dictionary alpenglow is ” the rosy light of the setting or rising sun seen on high mountains”. So both the photo’s caption and your explanation leave me confused.
    Regards from Mauritius.

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