Anticrepuscular Rays at the Winter Sunset

April 05, 2022

Raggi Anticrepuscolari Teresa Molinaro

Photographer: Teresa Molinaro

Summary Authors: Teresa Molinaro; Cadan Cummings

The magical golden hour following sunset brings about many vistas including times when the eastern sky is filled with anticrepuscular rays. These sunbeams occur on the opposite horizon from the Sun and appear to converge towards the antisolar point. Anticrepuscular rays typically accompany crepuscular rays that appear on the opposite horizon. Both atmospheric ray phenomena are produced when incoming sunlight is partially blocked by clouds or a tall landform and are accentuated when dust, smoke or other particulates are in the air. Although the anticrepuscular rays appear to converge at the antisolar point, the sunbeams are actually parallel in the atmosphere and this optical effect is caused by the viewer’s perspective.

The photo above was taken on December 22, 2021, at around 4:50PM local time. That evening, I found myself observing the sea just as the Sun had set behind me. To my surprise, these soft but unmistakable anticrepuscular rays radiated into the sky. In addition, an orange and pink hue produced by Belt of Venus is also faintly visible on the eastern horizon.

Photo details: Nikon D3400, 1/160 second exposure, f/10, ISO-400


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