Rays Above Madison, Wisconsin

October 11, 2011

Sunset at YRS8x

Photographer: Edwin Proctor
Summary Author: Edwin Proctor; Jim Foster

The photo above showing a set of breathtaking crepuscular rays was photographed near Madison, Wisconsin on August 16, 2010. I was at the Madison Astronomical Society observatory site to practice photographing the Milky Way. At about 8:15 p.m. local time and twenty minutes after sunset (at 7:57 p.m. local time) I was astonished to look up and see these rose colored rays, which seemed to be centered at about 290 degrees from north. Though the weather had mostly been clear most all day, hundreds of miles away, storms were on the move to the southeast. Bright rays are observed where sunlight streams through gaps in the storm clouds, whereas, darker lanes occur where distant towering clouds impede sunlight. Because of viewing perspective, crepuscular rays appear to converge below the western horizon; however, they're essentially parallel.