One day as I was driving down the highway I glanced out a window and saw a stunning scene that took my breath away for a second. Several distinct rays of bright light shone through a tight grouping of pure white clouds and down onto an arbitrary place out in the middle of a field. Have you ever noticed light rays like this before? They are called “crepuscular rays” (pronounced “kri-puss-cue- ler”).
These beautiful rays can form at sunrise, sunset, or any other time during the day. Crepuscular rays are a lot more common than most people would realize. They are up there, but it’s easy for us to get so caught up in our busy lives that we forget to look up and notice the beautiful light rays shining down on us. Crepuscular rays are probably my favorite thing to see in the daytime sky and I love pointing them out to whoever I’m with.
Sometimes a very thin, high, icy layer of cloud (usually “cirrostratus”) that is almost invisible makes its way across the blue sky. One of the ways you can discover this layer of cloud is if you see a ring, technically called a “halo”, around the sun or moon. Halos are frequently missed because they are so close to the sun. Another thing that you might see close to the sun is brilliant iridescence in the clouds (was that iridescence or is it just my eyes going crazy from looking too close to the sun???)
Now, don’t go looking close to the sun for a corona or iridescence. There’s a much less painful way to enjoy the beauty. You can use tinted glass to see and take pictures of the reflection of cloud formations close to the sun. I bought a large, black, plastic plate with a very shiny finish that I enjoy using to look at clouds. I discovered this handy tip in one of my favorite weather books, The Weather Identification Handbook, by Storm Dunlop.
Crepuscular rays, coronas, and iridescence are truly magnificent – yet, common – things in the sky that often go unnoticed. How much beauty in God’s creation just outside your window do you miss every day? What beautiful blessings has the Lord given you to brighten up your day? Please, take a minute to notice those things and thank God for the beauty He has placed in your life.