Astronomy Picture of the Day

Colorful Light Pillars

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#85016 by @ 06.03.2006 00:00 - nach oben -
Colorful Light Pillars

How can an aurora appear so near the ground? 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
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

In the above picture, the colorful lights causing the
light pillars surround a
ice-skating rink in Fairbanks,

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