Upper & Lower Sun Pillars
Above and below the sun's disk extend apparent pillars of light. Imaged by Piotr Potepa (photography) at Torun, Poland.  
©Piotr Potepa

Millions of diamond dust, plate shaped ice crystals - some visible individually as bright specks - reflected sunlight towards the eye and camera to form the pillars.

Halo forming plate crystals are usually aerodynamically aligned with their large hexagonal faces within a degree or so of horizontal. Paradoxically, the best pillars need wobbly crystals with tilts of several degrees from horizontal.

Sunlight is reflected (glinted) from the upper and lower large faces. The pillars are illusions, there are no upwards or downwards beams of light.


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