Crepuscular Rays

by Gethin Thomas November. 18, 2020 441 views

[105-365] 18th. November 2020- A few years back I was in a photography club and we would have photo meets, sometimes in the evening. One such evening I discovered the word crepuscular. I had never heard it before but I just thought it was a brilliant word, a word that is just enjoyable to say especially if you roll the r a little. Several members of the club had science backgrounds and a few of us were also in the Understanding Science Group too.

On this evening we saw these distinctive rays of sunlight that filter through cloud which I also witnessed today at dusk, I had seen them before but had no idea what they were called or what caused them. They are more commonly seen just after sunset as you need something to act as a broken barrier to split the light into separate rays. A mountain range on the horizon after sunset will also do the trick.

Crepuscular- Resembling or relating to twilight. Mid 17th century: from Latin crepusculum ‘twilight.

What is fascinating though is knowing that although they seem to fan out into a classic Art Deco sun with rays motif, the rays from the sun are parallel when they reach Earth, and that they only appear to fan out like this due to perspective, in exactly the same way that railway tracks disappearing into the distance appear to converge. We know that railway tracks are always parallel and that trains do not actually get smaller as they get further away and the tracks do not converge, but for some reason we have trouble visualising exactly that when it comes to sunrays.

Copyright raaen99 Flickr

Copyright raaen99 Flickr

Join the conversation
There are 7 comments , add yours!
Camellia Staab 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Interesting word and one that is new to me. Thanks for the lesson. BTW just so you know I had to go look at raaen99's photos. Very unique which goes along with her unique images of herself. A friend of yours?

5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Camellia Staab 5 months, 2 weeks ago

No. I just wanted one of those classic sunray gates. I don’t know if they are a particularly British thing or universal.

5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Paul Moreau 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Nice. I do like the way you've brought the foreground into play on the 1st two pics.

5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to Paul Moreau 5 months, 2 weeks ago


5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Antonio Gil 5 months, 2 weeks ago

#1 is a wonderful picture. love it

5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
R Kuerbovich Replied to Antonio Gil 5 months, 2 weeks ago

100% agree, it's a marvellous shoot

5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited
Gethin Thomas Replied to R Kuerbovich 5 months, 2 weeks ago

Thanks both. It was just being in the right place at the right time.

5 months, 2 weeks ago Edited