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Light Pillar above City

Date:3.1.2006, 20:57 UT Optics:f=20mm, f/4
Place:Tschierv, Switzerland Observer:Till Credner

© Copyright by the observers

"Scotty, beam me up!". No, the above scene isn't from a science fiction movie. Bright city lights were reflected by floating snow crystals in the air. In spite of a clear starry night, the air was filled with snow. If most ice surfaces of the snow crystals are aligned more or less horizontally, this leads to a light pillar above the light source.

See also:
M.G.J. Minnaert: "Light and Color in the Outdoors", Springer-Verlag
Les Cowley: Atmospheric Optics web site about light pillars