Crepuscular Rays

Uploaded 12 May 2008 — 4 favorites
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© David Lee Tiller
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Photo license: © All rights reserved

This is an atmospheric optical affect. Crepuscular rays, in atmospheric optics, also known as sun rays, God's rays or the Fingers of God, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds or between other objects, are diverging columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those being dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Various airborne compounds scatter the sunlight and make these rays visible, due to diffraction, reflection, and scattering. Crepuscular rays are near-parallel, but appear to diverge because of linear perspective. If you stand next to a brick wall and look down it horizontally, you will see that the lines diverge.

2 responses

  • Trish Meyer

    Trish Meyer (Deleted) gave props (12 May 2008):

    Beautiful. I love this effect, but usually get it a little earlier or later in the day

  • Trish Meyer

    Trish Meyer (Deleted) said (12 May 2008):

    And thanks for all the information on the phenomenon.

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