Double Pillars

August 19, 2004


Provided by: Rick Stankiewicz
Summary authors & editors: Rick Stankiewicz

The above photo showing rather unique upper and lower Sun pillars was captured over Ontario, Canada on October 21, 2002. The Sun is blocked by a cloud near the western horizon, and short columns of light are projected up and down from where the solar disk is positioned. A stacking of flat, plate-like ice crystals in the lower atmosphere results in sunlight being reflected off the bottoms of the plates. In this case, light is reflecting off the bottom and top of the stacked crystals. Typically, solar pillars are observed when the Sun is near the horizon, and the reflected beams of light are focused above the solar disk -- a "double" pillar is seldom seen.

This image was taken with a Nikon Coolpix 995 digital camera.

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