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If the air is moist enough, the sun’s rays become visible. The Tyndall effect is especially effective behind clouds and when the sun is low on the horizon. Yesterday and today we received several nice SRFMeteo images of this phenomenon – thank you very much.
Where does the name come from?
John Tyndall (1820 – 1893) was an Irish physicist who studied the scattering of light in cloudy media. The Tyndall effect is named after him. In our case, the cloudy medium is the very humid air. The many microscopic moisture particles scatter the sunlight and when the sun is just behind a cloud, you see the scattered light as a beautiful beam of rays.
It is also said that “the sun draws water”, which is not physically true, but not entirely wrong either. The rays are an indication that the air is humid and that humid air is more likely to cause showers.
Rays photos are at their best when the sun is low in the sky and the rays can be seen against dark surfaces such as clouds or landscapes in shadow.
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