May 30 Astronomy Picture of the Day

Discover the cosmos! Each day a different image or photograph of our fascinating universe is featured, along with a brief explanation written by a professional astronomer.

2022 May 30

Red Crepuscular Rays from an Eclipse

Image Credit & Copyright: Fefo Bouvier

Explanation: What’s happening behind that island? Things both expected and unexpected. Expected, perhaps, the pictured rays of light — called crepuscular rays — originate from the Sun. Unexpected, though, the Sun was being partially eclipsed by the Moon at the time — late last month. Expected, perhaps, the Sun’s rays are quite bright as they shine through gaps in below-horizon clouds. Unexpected, though, the crepuscular rays are quite red, likely the result an abundance of aerosols in Earth’s atmosphere scattering away much of the blue light. Expected, with hope, a memorable scene featuring both the Moon and the Sun, superposed. Unfortunately, from this location — in Uruguay looking toward Argentina — clouds obscured the eclipse — which wasn’t completely unexpected. However, after packing up to go home, the beauty of bright red crepuscular rays emerged — quite unexpectedly. Oh — and that island on the horizon — it’s really two islands.

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