FRANKLYWNOW - A Little Ray of Sunshine

SunBeams - A Glimpse of Light

A Little Ray of Sunshine

Crepuscular rays (pron.: /kr?'p?skj?l?r/) in atmospheric optics, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky, specifically, where the sun is. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds (particularly stratocumulus) or between other objects, are columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious. Crepuscular comes from the Latin word "crepusculum", meaning twilight.

Crepuscular and anticrepuscular rays are generated in the same way. The rays in some cases may extend across the sky and appear to converge at the antisolar point, which is the point on the sky sphere directly opposite the sun, and they are called anticrepuscular rays. Like crepuscular rays, they are parallel shafts of sunlight from holes in the clouds, and their apparent convergence is a perspective effect. They are not as easily spotted as crepuscular rays.

Crepuscular rays are usually red or yellow in appearance because the path through the atmosphere at sunrise and sunset pass through up to 40 times as much air as rays from a high midday sun. Particles in the air scatter short wavelength light (blue and green) through Rayleigh scattering much more strongly than longer wavelength yellow and red light.              

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