Sun Below Horizon and Mountain Shadow

July 21, 2003


Provided by: Laurent Laveder, Optics of the Atmosphere Gallery
Summary authors & editors: Jim Foster; Laurent Laveder

The above photo illustrates the fact that the Sun can set beneath the horizon (below zero degree elevation). This picture was taken at the Pic du Midi, an observatory in southwestern France (elevation of 8,125 ft or 2,800 m). From this lofty perspective, the Sun has just set over the Atlantic Ocean, and the shadow of Pic du Midi mountain arises above the opposite horizon. Notice the triangular appearance of the shadow of Pic du Midi. The shadow is at the photographers antisolar point and is cast not on the ground but rather on the atmosphere.

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