Ask Storm Team 11: What can cause clouds to do this?


Today’s Ask Storm Team 11 question comes from Beth Greene. She sent in a picture and asked, “What causes clouds to do this?”. This is what is called crepuscular rays or anticrepuscular rays! 

Simply, these rays are causes by clouds, or even mountains, partially blocking the light from the sun and casting a shadow. The name comes from a Latin word meaning “twilight” since dawn and dusk are the best time to see these rays.  

Crepuscular rays seem to “converge” towards the light source. In reality, these beams are parallel and only seem to bend because they are being projected onto the spherical Earth. Anticrepuscular rays seem to “converge” away from the light source.

To more simply answer Beth’s question, what causes the clouds to look as if a slice was taken out is simply the shadow of other clouds! This is a great question Beth.

Remember you can ask Storm Team 11 your questions!

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