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7 Phenomenal Natural World Wonders

March 25, 2013

Crepuscular Rays

Jacksonville, Fla.

Jacksonville, Fla.

iWitness contributor mnmcarta captured this shot on a beautiful morning on Florida's First Coast.

  • Jacksonville, Fla.
  • Lahaina, Hawaii
  • Weilburg, Germany
  • Cardiff-by-the-Sea, Calif.
  • Windmills at Weissenfels
  • Grand Canyon, Ariz.
  • Blue Ridge Mountains
  • Foss Mountain, NH
  • Key West, Fla.
  • February 24, 1944
  • Maumee, Oh.
  • Payson, Ariz.
  • Crystal Lake, Ill.
  • Independence, Missouri
  • Cresthill, Ill.
  • Sandy Springs, Ga.

Have you ever looked up at the sky to see sunlight spilling out from the clouds in a dozen different directions? Some people call it the "Fingers of God" or "Buddah's Rays" and even "Jacob's Ladder." Although it definitely looks like a sign from the heavens, it's actually a phenomenon called crepuscular rays, which are created by an optical illusion. Air molecules, small water drops, dust, and other tiny airborne particles scatter a portion of the light rays off their straight path and toward you. You're most likely to spot crepuscular rays at sunrise or near sunset, when the sun is closer to the horizon.


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