What exactly are light pillars?
Light pillars occur when ice-containing clouds - normally miles high in the atmosphere - cling closer to the Earth's surface, just a hundred or a few thousand feet above it. These thin clouds contain millions of flat, hexagonal crystals of ice that float horizontally in the air Each ice crystal acts like a mirror pointed downward, reflecting the artificial light back to your eyes - as long as the cloud is about halfway between you and the light source. Together, the crystals form a cluster of mirrors floating at different heights, which allows you to see the light as a column; if they all were at the same level, you'd see only a spot of light. The pillars can be quite colorful at times because each reflected beam is the same color as its source.
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