Copper Harbor Pillar

June 22, 2007

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Provided and copyright by: Sharon Smith
Summary authors & editors: Sharon Smith

Copper Harbor, Michigan is the northernmost town in Upper Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula. With its northerly location and its position on Lake Superior, it's possible to see many interesting atmospheric effects. While I've seen a number of sun pillars at or just after sunset during the colder months of the year, I've had difficulty capturing them on film. However, this copper colored beauty couldn't be missed and was persisted enough to permit me to photograph it. You don't have to travel to the South Pole or Alaska to enjoy spectacular optical effects.

Pillars are caused by refraction and reflection of sunlight off of plate shaped (hexagonal) ice crystals in cloud layers above the Sun. Light is refracted through the underside of the crystal and then reflected off of the upper-side before exiting the way it entered, through the underside. Photo taken on February 22, 2007.

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