Sun Rays through Clouds Are Called Crepuscular Rays

sun-rays-though-clouds-words

Photo by Juliet . 8-15-2015

Sun rays that pass through clouds are called “crepuscular rays.” This means “twilight rays” and they are called this because they are most obvious at twilight. But they can occur at any time of day.

They only appear to extend from a single point; in reality, they are parallel to each other.

It is our perspective that makes them seem to radiate from one point, the same way several rows of planted cops will seem to converge at a single point.

The ancient Greeks believed these rays were the way in which the sun drew water back into the sky, so they called the effect “Sun drawing water.”

People use lots of names to describe this effect:

Buddha’s fingers

Cloud breaks

Gateways to heaven

God’s rays

Jesus’ fingers

Jacob’s Ladder

Ropes of Maui — from a tale about how a Maui trickster-hero restrained the sun with ropes to make the days longer

Sunbursts

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