Unusual Winter Phenomenon Creates Magical Light Show In The Night Skies

If you happen to see beams of light stretching vertically into the night sky, you are one of the lucky people witnessing one of nature’s unusual light shows, an atmospheric optical phenomenon known as light pillars!

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Light pillars on a winter night in Alaska. Photo credit: Reddit / Eventarian

The visual effect causes vertical columns of light to appear to extend above or below a light source.




The effect is created by the reflection of light from tiny ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere or clouds, much like what light does when it is shining through a crystal.

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Light pillars on a winter night in Laramie, Wyoming. Photo credit: Wikipedia

No wonder it is also sometimes called the crystal beam phenomenon.

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Photo credit: Flickr

It’s a very cool, magical effect! Light pillars will often appear over city and street lights, as they provide the light source that reflects off of the ice crystals. But people have also seen the effect created by the light of the sun and the moon too.

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Light Pillars during a cold January 2016 winter night in Stockholm, Sweden. Photo credit: Wikipedia

I hope I’m lucky enough to see these one night! Have you ever seen them?

Share this cool phenomenon with your friends!