The Santa Catalina Mountains are often the backdrop for incredible crepuscular rays as was the case this morning (27 SEP 2013 07:40-08:02) with of course our Century Saguaro photo-bombing the pic.
Crepuscular rays – also called sunrays – are columns of sunlit air, streaming through gaps in clouds or other objects (for example, mountain peaks). Darker cloud-shadowed regions lie between the sunlit columns. These rays are really parallel to each other. But they appear to diverge, much as a road that looks narrow in the distance appears wide beneath your feet.
Crepuscular means like twilight or dim. That’s a clue that this effect is normally seen before sunrise or just after sunset, when the sky is somewhat dark.
Here’s another of Randall’s pictures from the same morning.
Thank you Randall!
Eleanor Imster has helped write and edit EarthSky since 1995. She was an integral part of the award-winning EarthSky radio series almost since it began until it ended in 2013. Today, as Lead Editor at EarthSky.org, she helps present the science and nature stories and photos you enjoy. She also serves as one of the voices of EarthSky on social media platforms including Facebook, Twitter and G+. She and her husband live in Tennessee and have two grown sons.