Diamond dust lower sun pillar 

    Diamond Dust Pillars.

Below the sun (ignore the six-spiked lens flare) a glittering lower sun pillar is formed by "diamond dust" ice crystals floating in freezing cold air just a few feet from the camera. Their sparkles demonstrate that halos are indeed made up of the collective glitters from myriad individual crystals.

The brightest area of the lower pillar is actually an elongated subsun. When, as here, the sun is near to the horizon and the crystals have large tilts, the lower sun pillar and the subsun merge together.

There is a small upper pillar above the sun. A tall bright diamond dust sundog was also present.

David van Unen (more of his images) captured this halo shortly before sunset on January 21, 2003 at Fort St. John, B.C., Canada.

©2003 David J van Unen, shown with permission.

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