Sun Pillar Over Otterbein, Indiana

February 04, 2005


Provided and copyright by: John Cirillo, Purdue University
Summary authors & editors: John Cirillo

The splendid Sun pillar above was captured on December 13, 2004 near Otterbein, Indiana. This vertical shaft of reflected sunlight results from the presence of hexagonal plate-shaped ice crystals in between the Sun and the viewer. A column or pillar of light occasionally forms when ice crystals float freely in the atmosphere or gently descend from clouds, though, the one pictured above is quite exceptional. See also tomorrow's Earth Science Picture of the Day.

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