What Is Alpenglow?

Tools

By By Steve Pool

SEATTLE - Have you ever glanced at the mountains around sunrise or sunset, and seen a gorgeous pinkish or reddish hue on their summits? That's known as "Alpenglow."

As to what makes the gorgeous reds and pink synonymous with sunsets, you see sunlight as white, but it's made up as a combination of the colors of the spectrum.

Particles in the air will tend to scatter away the blue and green light part of the sunlight's spectrum, leaving behind the more-difficult-to-scatter red and orange colors. That's because red and orange lights has a longer wavelength than the blue and greens, making it less affected by particles.

So next time you're up skiing at sunset, be on the lookout for Alpenglow. We also have a few examples on the komotv.com Weather Web site under "Viewer Photos."

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