Anticrepuscular Rays – Anti what?

 Anticrepuscular rays behind Mt Antelao (the second highest peak of Italian Dolomites)
Anticrepuscular rays behind Mt Antelao (the second highest peak of Italian Dolomites)

Recently I led a photography workshop in Italian Dolomites with Marc Muench from Muench Workshops. One of the evenings we were treated with most beautiful conditions one can imagine, heavy storm with dark clouds, followed by a rainbow, anticrepuscular rays and amazing sunset colours.

At one point we noticed beautiful god rays coming from behind the mountain. Normally I would say these are sun rays, but the sun was setting behind our backs. So what were these rays if not from sun?

It turns out this phenomena is called Anticrepuscular Rays – the opposite of Crepuscular rays (more commonly known as god rays or sun rays and come directly from sun) and they appear on the opposite side of the sky from sun.

You can read more about these rays on the above Wikipedia link – I just wanted to share how these are called – so you know what to search for next time 😉

The only other time I witnessed this phenomena was three years ago, in Dolomites as well. It seems I need to go there more often – high mountains are ideal for unusual weather.

Anticrepuscular rays at Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites, Italy
Anticrepuscular rays at Alpe di Siusi, Dolomites, Italy

Have you ever witnessed these rays yourself? Where?

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