Residents from Ohio were treated with a wonderful and rare atmospheric optical phenomenon known as “light pillar.” The beams of light were spotted across the horizon of Northeast Ohio this week.
Light pillars are often visible during winter months. It would normally be seen in northern areas near the Arctic. However, because of the cold weather now in the United States, people got a glimpse of the beautiful light pillars in southern areas such as Ohio, according to National Geographic.
As you could see in the photo, they looked like beams of light coming from an alien spaceship or UFO. On the other hand, these light illusions do exist in this world.
A light pillar is in the form of a vertical band or rod of light that appears to extend from the sky to the ground. The light illusion or the effect is generated by the reflection of light coming from innumerable tiny ice crystals that are suspended in the atmosphere or clouds.
This light pillar belongs to the family of halos. The phenomenon is triggered by the interaction of light with ice crystals that comprise of flat and hexagonal plates. These crystals tend to fall more or less horizontally in the air. They are disturbed by the turbulence that causes reflection and stretches into a column.
One of my favorite weather phenomenons the Light Pillar. Formed by ice crystals reflecting in light of very cold air. This is in Richfield near I-77 and I-271. pic.twitter.com/dE45dcJF5e
— Mike Vielhaber (@MVielhaber) December 28, 2017
The light pillars in Ohio were taken by photographer Mike Vielhaber from News 5 Cleveland. It displayed dozens of blueish white beams that brightened the horizon of Ohio.
According to National Geographic, the light pillars in Ohio are perceived at a midway point between the light source and the viewer. Once the ice crystals were elevated in the atmosphere or the light source is closer, they could be perceived directly overhead just like an atmospheric chandelier.
The light pillars in Ohio are in white color. On the other hand, light pillars could take whatever color that brightens them. Those light pillars that are created over street lamps could appear as tinted orange.
Sunset on Tule Lake with a sun pillar (high atmosphere ice crystals reflecting sunlight) pic.twitter.com/FUi2HblwPM
— Timothy Dahlum (@dahlumii) December 28, 2017
These beams of light could be best perceived at night. However, it could also be seen during the day when the light from a rising or setting sun illumines the ice crystals and creates light pillars also referred to as sun pillars or solar pillars. The colors of these beams of light often are rosy red or orange hues.
— Shawn Brown (@kc9qha) December 28, 2017