Sebago Lake Pillar Remnant

December 04, 2007


Provided by: John Stetson
Summary authors & editors: John Stetson

The photo above shows the remnants of a Sun pillar over Sebago Lake in Maine. I had noticed cirrus and altocumulus clouds in the western sky before sunset and so wasn't surprised that once the solar disk dipped below the horizon, a Sun pillar appeared. Pillars result when sunlight is reflected off of plate-shaped (hexagonal) ice crystals in cirrus clouds. Light enters the underside of the crystal and is then reflected off of the upper side before exiting the way it entered. As this peculiar pillar began to fade, only parts of it remained visible. Eventually, the remaining fragments looked like two timid "suns." Photo taken on August 10, 2007.