Crepuscular rays: Stunning sunsets light up the skies in the UK

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image copyrightSimon Logan
image captionSimon Logan took this spectacular snap in Oxford

A remarkable sunset could be seen in parts of the UK as crepuscular rays shone across the sky on Monday evening.

Crepuscular rays are beams of sunlight which pass through gaps in the clouds, made more visible by particles such as dust and smoke in the air.

On Monday night, the rays were made more prominent by a narrow train of Saharan dust drifting across the southern part of the UK.

image copyrightAdam Simpkins

In this photo, taken by Adam Simpkins in Wiltshire, the sunbeams appear to fan outwards - but this is not the case.

If you were to see the sun's rays from space, they would actually look parallel.

image copyrightMonika Saha

As seen in this photo from Monika Saha, the rays seem to shine out from the middle of the sun in a circle.

image copyrightGRBiker

The rays can be seen during sunset, as in this picture from GRBiker in London, but are also visible during sunrise.

They are most visible during these times because this is when the contrast between light and dark is most obvious.

image copyrightRicky Howitt

This snap from Ricky Howitt in Hill Head shows how crepuscular rays are highlighted at dusk - though for Latin-speakers the clue is in the name.

The word crepuscular comes from the Latin "crepusculum", which means "twilight" in English.

image copyrightPeter Gibbs

Elsewhere in the UK, this shot from Peter Gibbs shows the sun beating through the trees.

Yes, it's from that Peter Gibbs - the former BBC weather forecaster and sometimes chair of Gardener's Question Time on Radio 4.

image copyrightSteve Thomas

And Steve Thomas rounds off our gallery with this photo taken at Paper Mill Lock in Essex.

By Tom Gerken, BBC UGC & Social News, and Lan Boutland, BBC Weather

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