Anticrepuscular Rays Over the Plains of Western Nebraska

January 03, 2011


Photographer: Ray Boren
Summary Author: Ray Boren; Jim Foster

The photo above displaying a set of wondrous anticrepuscular rays was taken late last summer while I was driving east across the Great Plains as the Sun was going down behind me. I was traveling on Interstate I-80 in eastern Wyoming – the cloud deck was over the panhandle of Nebraska. The sky behind me, though not cloud free, was clearer than the sky before me.

These anticrepuscular rays were cast by cumulus clouds just below and just above the opposite horizon. Even though the rays result from clouds near the western horizon, because of viewing perspective they appear to converge below the eastern horizon. In actuality, since the rays come from the Sun, more than 90,000,000 miles away, they're actually parallel. The darker “rays” are of course shadow lanes – cumulus clouds block the sunlight. Note the flock of geese flying in classic “V” formation as summer ends. For reasons only they would know, they’re headed north – and no, this isn’t due to viewing perspective. Photo taken on September 1, 2010.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON CORPORATION; Camera Model: NIKON D60; Focal Length: 34.0mm;
Aperture: f/8.0; Exposure Time: 0.0080 s (1/125); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: aperture priority (semi-auto); Flash Fired: No; Color Space: sRGB.