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Dreamy Image: Mount Rainier Glows at Sunrise

Mount Rainier at sunrise
Washington's Mount Rainier radiates during a sunrise in a phenomenon called alpenglow, where there is not direct path for light to reach the peak and instead, light reflects off airborne snow, water or ice particles low in the atmosphere. (Image credit: Bob Kim/U.S. Department of the Interior)

Start the week off right with a gorgeous sunrise photo at Tipsoo Pond in Mount Rainier National Park.

Mount Rainier National Park is spread over 235,625 acres on the west side of the Cascade Range, and is located about 50 miles (100 kilometers) southeast of Seattle. Mount Rainier is an unmistakable icon on the landscape. With a peak 14,410 feet (4,392 meters) above sea level, Rainier is an active volcano and its last known eruption was in 1894.

Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States and the park'sCarbon Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the continental United States. Rainier's footprint is so massive that it spawns six major rivers. The icy volcano is ringed by wildflower meadows, and ancient forest covers the lower slopes.

The band of light atop Mount Rainier in the photo is called alpenglow. This optical phenomenon occurs when the Sunis just below the horizon, when there is no direct path for the light to reach the mountain. Instead, light reflects off airborne snow, wateror iceparticles low in the atmosphere.

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Brett Israel was a staff writer for Live Science with a focus on environmental issues. He holds a bachelor’s degree in biochemistry and molecular biology from The University of Georgia, a master’s degree in journalism from New York University, and has studied doctorate-level biochemistry at Emory University.