Anticrepuscular Rays Over Ontario, Canada

September 07, 2021

Anticrepuscular rays(1)

Photographer: David Wigglesworth

Summary Author: David Wigglesworth; Cadan Cummings

It was late in the day on June 27, 2021 when the storm clouds finally cleared overhead. My wife and I went on an evening walk and when we cleared a line of trees, the spectacular view in the photo above was clearly seen on the horizon opposite the sunset. I was delighted to see such a beautiful display of anticrepuscular rays!

Anticrepuscular rays are horizontal pillars of light that as a result of the viewer's perspective appear to converge at the antisolar point, which is the point in the sky directly opposite the Sun. The cause of the rays was clouds from the storm earlier in the day that had not yet dissipated. These clouds blocked a majority of the sunlight, but holes allowed several pillars of light to stream through creating this beautiful optical phenomenon. Note the pink coloration of the sky. These vibrant red, pink, and orange colors result from atmospheric light scattering of the shorter wavelengths (blue and green) due to the greater path length the sunlight must pass through at dawn/ dusk hours compared to mid-day. In contrast, longer wavelengths (pink, orange, and red) are not scattered as much by the greater atmospheric path length and illuminate the sky.

Photo data: Google Pixel 5, f/1.7, 1/120 sec, ISO110. Photo taken at roughly 9:10pm local time.


View Larger Map