More Photos and Info on Light Pillars

In January Neatorama linked to a Daily Mail story about light pillars.  This week Environmental Graffiti offers an explanation re the physics involved, and how they can be created by street lamps and car headlights (The embedded image shows light pillars above an Alaskan ice-skating rink).

National Geographic also has a set of five impressive photos of this phenomenon.

Colourful light pillars often appear in winter when snow or ice crystals reflect light from a strong source like the sun or moon. Aided by extreme cold, light pillars appear when light bounces off the surface of flat ice crystals floating relatively close to the ground. The pillars look like feathers of light that extend vertically either above or below the light source, or both.


From the Upcoming ueue, submitted by Minnesotastan.

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We had a huge light pillar night here (Sioux Falls, SD) last Thursday night/Friday morning. I wouldn't have seen it, but I had a late-night project that kept me at work until about 1am that night; it was a gorgeous show of light on my drive home.

The cool thing is that the color of the light pillar varies depending on what kind of light source it comes from; the colors varied from yellows to purples... It was very, very cool.

After driving home I grabbed a camera and tried to grab a few shots of it; my cheap little camera sucks about as badly as my photography skills, so they didn't turn out as well as what you see at other sites. I tweaked one in P-shop a bit and posted one on my blog; click on my name to take a look.
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hey i'm from alaska and I believe I saw those last month. I've always wondered what or how they did that. I thought I was just seeing things, haha.
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