These incredible light columns are caused by ice crystals

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When I first I saw this extraordinary image by Thomas Kast, I though "oh wow, nice light cannon setup." Then I learned they are not light cannons but a natural visual phenomenon caused by ice crystals. This looks as cool or cooler than an aurora.

From APOD:

Pictured above are not aurora but nearby light pillars, a local phenomenon that can appear as a distant one. In most places on Earth, a lucky viewer can see a Sun-pillar, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere. Usually these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow, sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground lights in columns not unlike a Sun-pillar. While going out to buy cat food, a quick thinking photographer captured the above light pillars extending up from bright parking lot lights in Oulu, Finland.


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