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  Lower Pillars 

Lower sun pillar Sutherland's Lake, Springhill, Nova Scotia. An unusually bright pillar extending downward from a 9º high sun. The sun's disk is partly visible at the lower edge of the dark cloud. Shaun Lowe (more of his images) saw the pillar on 30th December '02. Later at sunset he imaged a beautiful upper pillar. ©2002 Shaun Lowe, shown with permission.
A complete sun pillar halo extends below the sun as well as upwards but we have to look harder for the "lower pillar" component. It is occasionally visible when the sun is a few degrees high and shielded by a cloud.

Spectacular lower pillars are often visible when looking downward into icy cloud or mist. Search shortly after sunrise or before sunset from a hill or mountainside or from an aeroplane. The lower pillars in mountain valleys are best after dawn when the valley is filled by an ice fog after a very cold and clear night.

'Diamond dust' crystals floating in clear air on very cold days make sparkling lower pillars. Ski slopes provide just the opportunity to see them. They are sometimes visible at ground level against a backdrop of a dark building or shadowed snow.