Saturday, May 31, 2014

Shafts of Sunlight

Shafts of sunlight, sometimes mythologized as God rays, Ropes of Maui, Jacob's Ladder, or Fingers of God, are atmospheric optics known as crepuscular rays.

Crepuscular rays are shafts of sunlight that stream through gaps in atmospheric clouds.

The shafts appear to radiate from a point in the sky, but are are nearly parallel. The convergence to a point in the sky observed on the ground, is actually a perspective effect analogous to how parallel train rails appear to converge at a distance.
“When you come right down to it all you have is yourself. The sun is a thousand rays in your belly. All the rest is nothing.”
Pablo Picasso (1881-1973)

Crepuscular is derived from the Latin word crepusculum meaning twilight. Crepuscular rays frequently appear during the high contrast twilight hours of dawn or dusk.
“The human understanding is like a false mirror, which, receiving rays irregularly, distorts and discolors the nature of things by mingling its own nature with it”
Francis Bacon (1561-1626)