Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Anticrepuscular Rays Over Florida

Credit & Copyright: Daniel Herron

Explanation: What's happening over the horizon? Although the scene may appear somehow supernatural, nothing more unusual is occurring than a setting Sun and some well placed clouds. Strangely, the actual sunset was occurring in the opposite direction from where the camera was pointing. Pictured above are anticrepuscular rays. To understand them, start by picturing common crepuscular rays that are seen any time that sunlight pours though scattered clouds. Now although sunlight indeed travels along straight lines, the projections of these lines onto the spherical sky are great circles. Therefore, the crepuscular rays from a setting (or rising) sun will appear to re-converge on the other side of the sky. At the anti-solar point 180 degrees around from the Sun, they are referred to as anticrepuscular rays. While enjoying the sunset after visiting NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida, the photographer chanced to find that an even more spectacular sight was occurring in the other direction just over the Atlantic Ocean -- a particularly vivid set of anticrepuscular rays.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hey, thanks for the link. I have a few pictures I took of crepuscular rays on my blog too. I've actually written about them on the main Bad Astronomy site a few times too. They are one of my favorite sky phenomena.

Anonymous said...

Oops-- I meant to put my name on that. Sorry!

-Phil Plait
Bad Astronomy
http://www.badastronomy.com

Stardust said...

Thanks for stopping by Phil. I love your website and have it linked on my favorites.

This is one of my favorite phenomena also, first being the Aurora Borealis.
I want to travel to the polar zone to see that with my own eyes sometime.

Ron Wilkes said...

recently i saw a 22 degree solar halo in Bulgaria. i did some homework on the internet and found this brilliant site on Atmospheric Optics (including photos of anti/crepuscular rays and many other apparitions), check it out...

http://www.atoptics.co.uk/

Stardust said...

ron wilkes, Thanks for the link! That's an incredible website and I am going to add the link to my sidebar on my Stardust blog.