Copper Harbor Sun Pillar

April 03, 2011

Copperharborpillar110305a (3) 
Photographer: Sharon I, Smith; Sharon's website
Summary Author: Sharon I, Smith; Jim Foster

The photo above featuring a splendid Sun pillar was taken from Copper Harbor, Michigan on March 5, 2011. After a cold and somewhat snowy day late winter's day, I looked out over the harbor and noticed a coral colored sky, where the Sun was just setting, with a pillar projecting above it. When ice crystals are floating between the observer and the setting Sun and are aligned in such a way to reflect sunlight off their bottom surfaces, a pillar will appear as long as the crystals are plate shaped, oriented the same way and tipped slightly toward the observer. They're most often seen in winter but can occur in other seasons as well. Be careful to protect your eyes when looking toward the Sun.

Photo details: Camera Maker: NIKON; Camera Model: E990; Focal Length: 23.4mm; Aperture: f/4.0; Exposure Time: 0.017 s (1/59); ISO equiv: 100; Exposure Bias: none; Metering Mode: Matrix; Exposure: program (Auto); Flash Fired: No; Orientation: Normal; Color Space: sRGB.