No, it's not Sauron reaching across from Mount Doom. It's just the shadow of Mount Rainier in the northwestern U.S., cast across the underside of the clouds at sunrise.
sunbeams and shadowbeams, the lines of the shadow converge back to the sun's position.
Seen from the top of Mount Rainier, facing away from the sun at sunset, the cast shadow looks triangular. That triangular shape is not the mountain profile you're seeing, but, again, it's the lines of perspective of the edges of the broad mass of shadowed air running back to infinity through lighter illuminated vapor.
On Halloween, Monday, October 31, from 11-12:30, I'll be lecturing on color and light at the Canzani Center Auditorium at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Ohio. It's free and open to the public.
Links and Credits
More photos of Rainier casting shadows at Geekologie
The second photo of the mountain shadow is by Dale Ireland from Atmospheric Optics
Thanks, Chris Vosters
Previously on GurneyJourney: