A stunning sight in the South Texas sky, but what exactly are they? The science behind crepuscular rays 🌄

Objects like clouds or mountains can obstruct sunlight, allowing the sun’s rays to look more like beams of light

Crepuscular rays greet early morning walkers on a fall morning in October in the Garden Ridge area (sent in via KSAT Connect). (KSAT)

South Texas is home to beautiful sunrises and sunsets, a few of which may come with a unique pattern in the sky.

You might have seen them when out on your morning jog, or when strolling around the neighborhood for your evening walk: beautiful rays of sunlight beaming out from the horizon.

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These phenomena are called crepuscular rays. 🌄 The term “crepuscular” relates to things that are active or occur during the twilight period. Here’s a little bit more about how they form:

When the sun is positioned below the horizon (whether that be before sunrise or after sunset), the sun’s light still shines above the horizon for a period of time.

Sometimes, however, there can be objects in the way, like clouds or mountains, that don’t allow all of that light to pass through.

When those objects block some of that sunlight, it allows the rays to look more like beams of light.

If there are dust particles or aerosols in the atmosphere, they can also give the bands a colorful appearance, creating a beautiful sight in the South Texas sky.

About the Author

Meteorologist Mia Montgomery joined the KSAT Weather Authority Team in September 2022. As a Floresville native, Mia grew up in the San Antonio area and always knew that she wanted to return home. She previously worked as a meteorologist at KBTX in Bryan-College Station and is a fourth-generation Aggie.

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