Why We Saw Weird, Beautiful Blue Streaks in the Kentucky Night Sky
Monday night gave us a beautiful sunset. The variety of colors in the night sky was very impressive--pink, orange, peach, and a little green.
STRANGE BUT BEAUTIFUL PHENOMENA IN THE NIGHT SKY
Shooting up into the middle of that pink/peach mix, seemingly straight out of the ground, were these weird, fascinating blue streaks; that's what I called them anyway. But they are actually rays.
And the west end of Daviess County was not the only place they were observed. My friend Melissa Martin Recke saw the same thing from downtown Louisville.
And yes, I said they looked like they were coming up out of the ground, but, of course, they weren't. But they did go all the way down to the horizon.
SAY IT WITH ME NOW...CREPUSCULAR RAYS
They are phenomena known as crepuscular rays. (Try saying that three times fast.) These heavenly beams make an appearance "after the sun has set and extend over the western sky radiating from the position of the sun below the horizon." Here's a cool time-lapse video showing the appearance of crepuscular rays--and this is from NEW ZEALAND. So it's Daviess County, Louisville, and New Zealand...so far.
IT SEEMS I'VE SEEN CREPUSCULAR RAYS BEFORE, BUT NOT LIKE THIS
Yes, it's a joke. Crepuscular rays are visible everywhere. All you need is the sun. But here's the thing...the image that accompanies that definition at Britannica.com and the images in these videos are what I've always called "sunbeams"; THESE I've seen before.
I've never seen the ones like we saw last night--blue beams of something that doesn't look like light cutting through a completely different field of color. No, I'm not trying to drum up some weird conspiracy nonsense; it's just that these don't look like those in the photo above or the one Melissa Recke posted.
But that's what they are. The color probably has something to do with the angle of the sun; I've seen the whiter beams when there was a little more daylight.
Well, there you go. Crepuscular rays...let's say it together cre-pus-cu-lar. Science is fun; the words are even better.
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