The Half-Astrophysicist Blog

Crepuscular Rays at Sunset

I have been really negligent blogging. A very busy summer and lousy weather in Tucson for photography haven’t helped. However, I am hoping to get back to a regular schedule here.

Last night wasn’t a great night for photography, but the clouds produced some very nice crepuscular rays at sunset. You have probably seen crepuscular rays before: they stream through the clouds and appear to radiate from the Sun (I always think of the scenes with God in The Holy Grail when I see them). They are usually seen near sunrise or sunset when the contrast in the sky is higher, but they can be seen at any time of day under the right conditions. Here is a shot of the crepuscular rays last night.


I used a polarizing filter to increase the contrast a little bit, but they were very visible to the naked eye (in fact, they polarizing filter made the pic better match what I saw). Here is another shot.


The rays were very long so I turned my camera kind of diagonal to try and capture the length of the rays (this reminds me of the constant off-kilter filming they used in the 1960’s Batman TV series).


So don’t think you won’t get a nice sunset just because there are a few clouds hanging around!


August 11, 2012 - Posted by | Astrophotography, Atmospheric Physics, Sunset | ,

1 Comment »

  1. I live in Gascony in the south-west of France. Yesterday in the early evening, while we were driving through the hills in westward direction, we too saw an awesome formation of clouds and the same crepuscular rays (didn’t know this word). The sun could be seen through streaks of clouds and it was enormous! We really felt sorry we did not bring the camera.

    Comment by Pauline | August 11, 2012 | Reply

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