Astrophoto: Curtain of Crepuscular Rays at Dawn

Article written: 26 Jun , 2013
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015
by

Prolific astrophotographer and Australian astronomer Joseph Brimacombe captured this beautiful wide-field view of crepuscular rays from the Sun last week. You definitely want to click on this image to see a larger view on Flickr. This image is made of seven frames; three exposures each. Brimacombe was lucky to get this shot; just seven minutes later (see the view here), the spectacular curtain of rays were gone.

The word crepuscular means “relating to twilight,” and these rays occur when objects such as mountain peaks or clouds partially shadow the Sun’s rays, usually when the Sun is low on the horizon. These rays are visible only when the atmosphere contains enough haze or dust particles so that sunlight in unshadowed areas can be scattered toward the observer.

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1 Response

  1. Steven Janowiecki says

    I enjoy the beautiful photo, but take issue with the title of this post. Until recently I would have agreed that “dawn” was indeed the time pictured here, but in fact dawn is when the sky first starts lighting up *before* sunrise. Those beautiful crepuscular rays appear to be coming from a sun which is already well above the horizon, so it is long past dawn.

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