Timelapse: Anticrepuscular Rays at Monument Valley

Astrophotograher César Cantú from Mexico is visiting Utah and captured an incredible timelapse of the view at sunset along with the formation of anti-crepuscular rays — a spectacular optical phenomena where light rays scattered by dust and haze appear on the horizon opposite to the setting Sun.

The word crepuscular means “relating to twilight,” and these rays occur when objects such as hills 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 and in just the right conditions, sunlight is scattered toward the observer.

Then occasionally, light rays scattered by dust and haze sometimes appear on “antisolar” point, (the horizon opposite to the setting Sun). These rays, called anti-crepuscular rays, originate at the Sun, cross over the sky to the opposite horizon, and appear to converge toward the antisolar point.


For both crepuscular and anti-crepsucular, the light rays are actually parallel, but appear to converge to the horizon due to “perspective,” the same visual effect that makes parallel railroad tracks appear to converge in the distance.

Above is an image I took a few years ago when I captured both crepuscular and anti-crepuscular rays at the same time. You can read about that here.

Here’s a a great night sky shot of Monument Valley from César:

Monument Valley in Utah under the starry night sky on May 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: César Cantú.
Monument Valley in Utah under the starry night sky on May 27, 2014. Credit and copyright: César Cantú.

See more of his images here.

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Breathtaking Astrophoto: Milky Way Over Monument Valley

One of our favorite astrophotographers and timelapse gurus, Gavin Heffernan from Sunchaser Pictures is currently out in Monument Valley Navajo Tribal Park in Arizona shooting footage for a new timelapse. With this sneak peak photo, we can’t wait for the video!

This gorgeous shot taken on April 26, 2014 is just breathtaking. “It was an epic Milky Way night,” Gavin said on Facebook.

Monument Valley one of the most majestic and most most photographed regions in the US, and is known for its dramatic landscape and mesmerizing lighting during the day — with the sun illuminating the towers and casting long shadows on the valley — but it is equally dramatic at night, too, as this image attests.

Gavin told Universe Today the video will be completed in about 2 weeks, and that he was in Arizona as an “artist in residence” at Northern Arizona University, showing the photography students some timelapse tricks on some field trips.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.