Sunbeams on the Pacific

February 16, 2007

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Provided and copyright by: Dolf Svoboda
Summary authors & editors: Dolf Svoboda, Jim Foster

"Beam me up." The photo above shows the Pacific Ocean near San Diego being illuminated by "spotlights" of sunshine. Gaps in the shallow overcast permitted sunlight to breach the low lying cloud deck and speckle the ocean surface. These sunbeams are actually localized examples of crepuscular rays. The beams don't appear to converge to a point, as do crepuscular rays seen on the horizon, because the effects of perspective aren't significant here. Photo taken late in the afternoon on October 12, 2004. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for March 3, 2006.

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