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What makes sun rays? | Weather Wise

The technical term for those beams we see at sunrise or sunset is crepuscular rays.

LOUISVILLE, Ky. — The sun beams we often see at sunrise or sunset are often a spectacular and beautiful display of nature.

The technical term for these sun rays or beams is crepuscular rays. Certain conditions make them appear. You usually need the sun below the horizon at sunset AND the sun’s rays going around a cumulus cloud or mountain. The sun beams spread out across the sky, and thanks to our perspective, it appears the rays converge together on the horizon. 

The opposite of crepuscular rays, are anti crepuscular rays. They are similar, but converge on the opposite side of the setting sun. The word crepuscular comes from the Latin word crepusculum, which means "twilight."

These sun beams don’t always appear around sunrise or sunset, though. Sometimes we see the crepuscular rays through holes in clouds.  Either way, they are a sight to see, and now you’ve got another big word to use!

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