Photographer's Note

Returning to Grindelwald - "the glacier village in the Bernese Oberland" - and staying at the same hotel - this time in a lower, but much larger room with a balcony – the view out the window stayed pretty much the same as last year. On the other side of the valley the mighty Eiger [the Hunter] is raising it's 1.800 meter (5'900 feet) high Nordwand [North Wall] above the valley floor.

But having a balcony I was able to go out and have a larger view. Doing so, I discovered that not only was the top lit by moonlight, but also was the star constellation Orion – also known as the Giant Hunter or Warrior – hanging straight above the peak. As I had the tripod in my car, I decided to wait until the next evening to try to capture this unique combination of the two Hunters.

Doing so meant that the moon – shining from high above my left shoulder – moved a bit further away and also got somewhat brighter, which elevated the impression. Not only was the Eiger Peak (3.970m/13'025ft) lit up, but also part of the Mittelleggi Ridge - a knife-edged stretch east of the summit. While the West Flank created a nice dark contrast to the sky.

The bright light in the middle of the North Wall is coming from the Eigerwand station at 2.865m (9'400ft) on the Jungfraubahn (JB), a cogwheel railway line tunneled inside the mountain for most of it's 9,3kms/6mi. The train makes two five minute halts along the way, where large observation windows are hewn from the solid Alpine rock. The line ends at an amazing 3.454m (11'333ft) with Europe's highest-altitude railway station Jungfraujoch.

Orion is one of the most recognizable patterns of stars in the northern sky, where he – according to Greek mythology – was placed by the Gods after having been killed by a scorpion. Thus Orion and Scorpius were placed on opposite sides of the sky, so he never would be hurt again. An oddity is that the "fuzzy star" in the middle of Orion's sword isn't a star; it's the Great Orion Nebula (M42) 1'630 lightyears away and yet easily visible to the naked eye.

I guess you won't see much further than that - at least not with the naked eye!

Image rotated 1.7°CCW, cropped, adjusted levels, reduced brightness -5 and increased contrast +20, increased saturation +20 and reduced in yellow –50, NeatImage at 60%, resized for TE, USMsharpening, framed and saved for Web.

Actual shutter speed was 16 seconds.

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Additional Photos by Kaj Nordstrom (kajenn) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 539 W: 240 N: 849] (2454)
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