Light Pillars Spotted in Central Illinois

Weather 101

Light pillars have been spotted in the sky around Champaign on Saturday evening. It is nothing more than optical illusion, but we’ve seen a number of reports and photos of such.

This atmospheric phenomena occurs when tiny suspended ice crystals are suspended in the air. It is nothing more than a reflection of light originating at the surface passing through the air. The ice crystals responsible for light pillars are usually flat plates, often with 6 sides. They must generally be horizontal as they float/fall through the air. Each flake or crystal is able to act like a mirror, which reflects light sources upwards. The larger the crystals, the more pronounced the effect will be.

This atmospheric phenomena occurs when tiny suspended ice crystals are suspended in the air. It is nothing more than a reflection of light originating at the surface passing through the air. The ice crystals responsible for light pillars are usually flat plates, often with 6 sides. They must generally be horizontal as they float/fall through the air. Each flake or crystal is able to act like a mirror, which reflects light sources upwards. The larger the crystals, the more pronounced the effect will be.

Light pillars belong in the family of halos, which include sun halos, moon halos, circumzenithal arcs and more.

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