Why did the sun set in two tones on Friday in Central Texas?

Weather
Bi-colored sky

(KXAN photo/Grace Reader)

AUSTIN (KXAN) — Notice anything interesting in the sky around sunset Friday evening?

Beautiful and appealing to the eye, our two-tone sunset was caused by a meteorological phenomenon called “crepuscular rays” or sun beams.

The sky appears to be two colors
(KXAN photo/Mark Peña North Austin)

Crepuscular rays occur when sun shines through holes in the clouds.

The sun that shines through hits microscopic dust and/or water droplets which scatters the light and makes it appear brighter against dark clouds (or in our case) dark blue of the clear sky.

The sunset Friday evening was made just that more interesting because rather than a few rays shining through clouds, half the sky looked orange while the other half looked blue.

This is because a lone thunderstorm about 215 miles away was large (and tall) enough to block out the sun right as it was setting over Central Texas.

Radar image Friday evening at 7:15p

“Anti-crepuscular” rays appear for the same reason, but you have to be facing away from the sun. These appear to converge in the point in the sky called the “antisolar point,” or the point in the sky directly opposite of the setting sun.

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