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EarthSky // Today's Image Release Date: Sep 30, 2013

Catalina Mountain sunrays

Crepuscular rays in Arizona’s Santa Catalina mountains by EarthSky Facebook friend Randall Kayfes

Photo credit: Randall Kayfes

Photo credit: Randall Kayfes. Thank you Randall!

Randall wrote:

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.

Photo credit: Randall Kayfes

Photo credit: Randall Kayfes

Thank you Randall!

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