Light Pillars on Friday Evening

Even though Halloween is a couple weeks away, people in the Lansing area saw ghostly looking lights on Friday evening. The lights appeared as several luminous columns between the ground and cloud base. These lights are believed to be light pillars, also known as sun pillars. They are formed when light (usually sunlight) reflects off ice crystals in the atmosphere. They can also form when bright lights near the ground, such as street lights illuminate these ice crystals. Here is a photo of the light pillars seen near Lansing on Friday evening.

 

Photo courtesy of WLNS

 

Here is a sun pillar near Grand Rapids after sunset on September 4th. The sun pillar appeared for several minutes as an orange-red ray of light above the western horizon, surrounded by the reddish hues of light reflected off of altocumulus clouds.



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