Standing around in cold, dipping temperatures may not sound like an ideal situation to be in, but incredible atmospheric phenomena can actually form in the sky thanks to falling temperatures, leading to some stunning visuals.  When the thermometer shows numbers that are close to freezing, flat, hexagon-shaped ice crystals are able to manifest in the air. Once enough of these crystals appear, they can reflect bright light sources (like the sun or street lamps), essentially bounce the light back down to us, and create a light pillar in the sky. This specific type of reflection is what makes light pillars different from sun dogs—though both are part of the halo family—since sun dogs reflect light to the side instead of downward.

During the day, light pillars most likely occur as the sun is setting and are referred to as sun pillars. At night, this phenomenon looks even more interesting and out of place, which would explain why light pillars are the source of many UFO reports. However, though they may look a bit unusual, light pillars are actually quite rare and perfectly display the beauty of our atmosphere.

Above photo via Eventarian

Photo via Mybackwardswalk

Photo via u_sofronov

Photo via Ronn & Marketa Murray

Photo via Mia Heikkilä

Photo via Christoph Geisler

Photo via Adam Kraft

Photo via Adam Kraft

Photo via NASA

Photo via Tristan Greszko

Photo via Joey Holliday

Photo via James Sawatzky

Photo via Dainis Poikans

Photo via Sonia Afonso

Email me when people comment –

You need to be a member of My Modern Met to add comments!

Join My Modern Met