Crepuscular and Anticrepuscular Rays

An added beauty to the daytime skies

Crepuscular rays (also called sun rays and sunbeams) are created when sunlight shines through gaps in clouds and continues through an atmosphere that contains dust and/or haze. This dust or haze scatters some of the bright light that can be seen against the darker cloud and/or darker blue sky background. I took the photographs below in Arizona near the time of sunrise and sunset when the sun was low in the sky and the rays were long. The rays are actually parallel, but seen from the observer's perspective, they appear to radiate from a near-by sun.

I took the image above late in the afternoon when the sun was almost setting on the western horizon.

I took the photograph above in the early morning, just after sunrise. The view faces east.

I took the photograph above in the early evening near near the time of sunset. The photograph was taken from my driveway. The view is facing west.

I took the image above of these anticrepuscular rays just before the time of sunset. The view is facing the east and the rays eminate from the setting sun near the western horizon, and the rays pass overhead and then appear to converge at or near a point on or just below the western horizon. They converge at the antipodal solar point.