Strange Rays

September 26, 2018

Strahlreflekt an Wolk L4 II 096 - det1 heko (5)

Strahlreflekt an Wolk L4 II 096 - det2 heko2 (3)

Photographer: Hans Juergen Heyen 
Summary Author: Hans Juergen Heyen 

Featured above are some interesting, but subtle, sunlit rays I observed late in the day several weeks ago near my hometown in Meerbsch, Germany. In the photos you can see that the Sun is at right (bottom photo is a closer view). The rays don't seem to converge toward the Sun but are rather oriented at a strange angle, below and to the left of the position of the Sun. It appears that there's some sort of reflection of the rays off a layer of clouds that throw them back in a different direction. Is there perhaps a concealed layer of haze responsible for this odd angle?

The solution to this problem became evident when I consulted with Dr. Claudia Hinz (curator of the website Atmospheric Phenomena). She asked me if there was a body of water somewhere in the background of the picture. There's a small lake nearby. So as it turns out what we're observing here is the reflection of crepuscular rays off of the small lake.

Photo Details: Both images - Camera: Panasonic DMC-FZ300; Software: Microsoft Windows Photo Gallery 6; Exposure Time: 0.0006s (1/1600); Aperture: ƒ/4.5; ISO equivalent: 100; Focal Length (35mm): 29.