Pico de Teide and Cloud Shadow

December 01, 2016

Sunrise Teide shadow on the clouds in Tenerife (2)

Photographer: Massimo Cecconi
Summary Authors: Massimo Cecconi; Jim Foster

Featured above is silhouetted Pico de Teide (12,198 ft or 3,718 m) on Tenerife island, in the Canary Islands, as observed at sunrise from Santa Cruz de La Palma (Spain). Do you notice anything a bit odd about the layer of clouds looming over this mountain range? Look just above Teide's summit. The tooth-like appendage is actually the shadow of the mountain. Twice a year the Sun rises directly behind Tenerife as viewed from La Palma. But a shadow like this can only be detected at such times when a cloud layer in between La Palma and Teide is positioned so that Teide's shadow can be projected as shown. Perspective makes the shadow appear triangular, regardless of the mountain's profile.

Note that the red-orange clouds are higher than other clouds on this scene -- they're high enough to reflect the light of the Sun, which is still below the photographer's horizon. Photo taken on November 15, 2016, at 7:28 a.m.