Rays at sunset

Forums Atmospheric Phenomena Rays at sunset

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    Andrew Read

    Photographed August 27th, 2019 looking towards the sunset, Hong Kong harbour.  I’m not sure what the atmospheric cause would have been but am interested to hear any speculations!

    The photo was taken by an iPhone 6 and is unprocessed.  Happy to share the full size image if requested.

    Grant Privett

    Commonly termed, crepuscular rays…..

    Dr Paul Leyland

    Looks like shadows cast by some objects (clouds near or below apparent horizon  perhaps) on the regular forward-scattered sunlight.

    Peter Anderson

    Spectacular when they stream right across the sky and converge on the anti-solar point (see attached – leaving Bora Bora)


    The phenomenon has been known for a long time.

    An old description of the phenomenon can be found here:

    SAO/NASA Astrophysics Data System (ADS)

    Title: Sur les rayons lumineux divergents

    Authors: Mascart, J.

    Journal: Bulletin de l’Observatoire de Lyon, vol. 9, pp.151-155

    Bibliographic Code: 1927BuLyo…9..151M

    Since light pollution has erased the stars from the sky above my city, I now study atmospheric phenomena at twilight. I would appreciate some photographs of the sky at sunset or sunrise taken from your residence. If you want, please contact me at this address.




    L’Aquila city (Italy)

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