Pastel Pillar

April 20, 2003

Colonnesol2003sm copy

Provided by: Jean-Marie Maillard
Summary authors & editors: Jean-Marie Maillard; Jim Foster

The above photo was taken this past February, near Liege, Belgium and shows a pastel-colored Sun pillar, which appears to link Earth to the Heavens. While the evening sky on this day was inconspicuous, it yet interesting, nevertheless. A mid-level cloud band provides contrast between the orange tinted horizon and the blue shades higher up in the sky. Sun pillars are caused by the reflection of sunlight off of suspended ice crystals. In this case, the crystals are most likely hexagonal plate crystals. See also the Earth Science Picture of the Day for January 30, 2003 and December 14, 2002.

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