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Crepuscular rays (pronounced /krɪˈpʌskjələr/, also known as God Rays), in atmospheric optics, are rays of sunlight that appear to radiate from a single point in the sky. These rays, which stream through gaps in clouds or between other objects, are columns of sunlit air separated by darker cloud-shadowed regions. The name comes from their frequent occurrences during crepuscular hours (those around dawn and dusk), when the contrasts between light and dark are the most obvious.
Anticrepuscular rays are similar to crepuscular rays, but seen opposite the sun in the sky. Anticrepuscular rays are near-parallel, but appear to converge at the antisolar point because of linear perspective.
Anticrepuscular rays are most frequently visible near sunrise or sunset. Crepuscular rays are usually much brighter than anticrepuscular rays. This is because for crepuscular rays, seen on the same side of the sky as the sun, the atmospheric light scattering and making them visible is taking place at small angles.
Although anticrepuscular rays appear to converge onto a point opposite the sun, the convergence is actually an illusion. The rays are in fact (almost) parallel, and the apparent convergence is to the vanishing point at infinity.
About twelve minutes after sunset a dramatic phenomenon appeared in the sky above Ngome.
It was captured on video. The phenomenon consisted of several rays of blue light radiating from the direction at which the sun had set.
The rays gradually increased in number and in thickness. Shortly before they disappeared the illuminated clouds in the sky resembled flames. The entire phenomenon lasted for approximately fifteen minutes. Everyone present was greatly moved by the occurrence.
On 8 Feb 1998 the images of the rays were featured on the SABC TV program 50/50.
The scientific explanation presented in the program to describe the phenomenon was accurate and the rarity of such a dramatic display of crepuscular rays was clearly stressed.
The rays were again featured on national television on 28th and 29th June '98 as part of a documentary on Ngome produced by the South African Broadcasting Corporation.
Even though the phenomenon was visible over a large area of land on that evening, it has been ascertained that the crepuscular rays looked at their best from directly alongside the Ngome Chapel. This is because there was a perfecly straight line between the shrine, the cloud formation causing the main crepuscular ray and the sun.
In light of this, and in addition to the fact that the phenomenon occurred on a day of great significance in the story of Ngome, many believe that the event was indeed a sign from God - a sign which was intended not just for the people of Ngome but also for the people of Southern Africa and beyond.
A poster has been digitally printed depicting four images of the breathtaking phenomenon. The size of the poster is slightly larger that A3.