Volcan Acatenango's Shadow and Anticrepuscular Rays

January 02, 2017


Photographer: David Rojas
Summary Authors: David Rojas; Jim Foster

Pictured above is the shadow of the cone of Volcan Acatenango projected upon distant volcanoes as well as Lake Atitlán, at center. Acatenango, a stratovolcano, stands 13,045 ft (3,976 m) above sea level, the third highest summit in Central America. Also captured on this sunrise photo are anticrepuscular rays, which appear to converge at the tip of volcano's shadow. The Sun is coming up directly behind me. The rays result from clouds gathered on the eastern horizon, in the vicinity of the rising Sun. They're actually parallel to each other as they stretch across the sky but perspective makes it seem as though they converge.

In addition, note the darkened band just above the horizon. This is the Earth's shadow sinking in the western sky. The pinkish strip atop the shadow, referred to as the Belt of Venus, is reddened sunlight scattered off the top-most portion of the shadow band. Photographers in the foreground at bottom right are appreciating this attention-getting sunrise from a slightly lower location. Photo taken on November 20, 2016.