Banks Lake Pillar
December 22, 2008
Photographer: William Lakefish
Summary Author: Jim Foster, William Lakefish
The photo above showing a jaunty, magenta Sun pillar was taken looking west a little after sundown at Banks Lake, Washington, on June 15, 2006. Pillars sometimes extend 5 to 10 degrees above the horizon and occasionally even further. They result from the collective glints of myriad ice crystals (hexagonal plates), either in cirrus clouds or free falling in the troposphere. In order to be observed the crystals composing a pillar must be similarly aligned and tipped in such a way that sunlight reflects off their undersides toward the viewer.