Moundsville Sun Pillar

April 06, 2009

040609_moundsville   

Photographer: Beverly Yost
Summary Author: Beverly Yost, Jim Foster

The photo above shows a fiery Sun pillar captured from the parking lot of where I work in Moundsville, West Virginia. It was taken on the morning of January 14, 2009, about 7:45 a.m. (Eastern Standard Time). Sun pillars form when horizontally stacked ice crystals (plate shaped crystals) in the Earth's atmosphere reflect the rays of the rising or setting Sun. These crystals are most often found in cirrus clouds or are free falling in the troposphere, but they must be slightly tipped in the direction of the observer in order for the glinting Sun to produce the pillar effect.