Sun Pillar Over Germany
January 30, 2003
The above photo of a classic Sun pillar was taken in northeastern Germany, near Bernitt, earlier this month, (on the morning of January 9). Most of Europe experienced bitter cold temperatures in early January - at the time the photo was taken the air temperature was -12.5°C (10 F). As can be seen from this pre-dawn photo, the ground is completely snow covered. While snow crystals cover the surface, ice crystals pervade the lower atmosphere. Sun pillars are caused by the reflection of sunlight off of floating ice crystals. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for December 14, 2002.