Sunlight Cross Appears on Side of Fort Lauderdale Church

Minutes before sunset on May 1, 2009, a cross made of sunlight and shadow could be seen on the side of the First Christian Church, 201 SE 13th Street in Fort Lauderdale. The cross was created with soft pink light and was perfectly centered over a side entrance to the church building, its base "mounted" in a circular ornamentation.

Below is an animation made from nine still photos taken over 42 minutes as the cross moved into position. There are two animations, each repeated four times. To see a "behind the scenes" image of how this happened, click here. NEXT OCCURRENCE: Aug. 10, 2009, about 7:45 p.m. (Photos by Cal Deal)

This usual sight was first spotted in August of 2008 while I was walking my dog Witney. As we were heading south on SE 2nd Avenue, near Davie Boulevard, I glanced at the church building and saw the cross in its "completed" form. Given the canvas on which the cross was "painted," it was a real jaw-dropper! Stopped me in my tracks. The next evening I photographed it, but it had already moved off center.

Using some astronomy software ("Starry Night"), I determined the angle on the horizon at which the sun had set on that crucial evening (286 degrees). Then I determined when it would next set at that same angle. The prediction, May 1, 2009, was right on! This animation is the result.

Next time I'll get smart and shoot video!

— Cal Deal, 5/3/09