Sunrise Surpise

2014-02-22 16:29:48.000 – Michael Kyle,  Weather Observer

Phantom Peak

As many of you know, sunrise on the summit of Mount Washington is a remarkable sight. Many of you also know that as a weather observer part of my job is to go outside to the Observation deck at the top of the hour and observe the weather. During this time of the year, being the morning weather observer you get the unique perk of watching the sun rise while taking the 6:45AM Observation. Since I was the morning observer this morning and the summit was in the clear, I got to enjoy the view of the early morning sun rise over the Atlantic Ocean, but I also got to see the phantom peak.

Since the sun rise in the southeast most people normally look to that direction to watch the sunrise with hopes of catching a glimpse of the green flash. They never turn around to see the phantom mountain peak to the Northwest. This phantom peak seems to appear suddenly shortly after the sun breaks over the horizon, then slowly shrinks and fades away. In all actuality the phantom mountain peak I’m referring to is an illusion of a mountain on the horizon, but it is nothing more than the shadow of Mount Washington being casted on the horizon by the rising sun. If you want to get a chance to see this phantom peak I’m talking about sign up for one of our overnight EduTrips, just don’t forget to look to the northwest during the sunrise.


Michael Kyle,  Weather Observer

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