Sun Pillar over Iowa

March 14, 2001


Provided by: Stan Richard
Summary authors & editors: Stan Richard

Sun pillars are an optical phenomena that are created by sunlight reflecting off ice crystals in the atmosphere. When the ice crystals are the right size and shape (hexagonal), they will fall through the sky in a horizontal alignment, and as in the above photo, sunlight reflects off the bottom of the crystals. Usually sun pillars are only 5-10 degrees in angular height, but I was lucky to capture a photo of this tall pillar that was probably closer to 15 degrees, using a Nikon 950 digital camera.

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