Ice crystals make for surreal display of light pillars
This was no outer-worldly experience – just some well-placed ice crystals
HANSVILLE, Wash. – Those who were up early enough Friday morning along Washington's Kitsap Peninsula were treated to a surreal sight of vertical glowing lights over the water.
But this was no outer-worldly experience – just some well-placed ice crystals.
The video by Greg Johnson at SkunkBayWeather.com in Hansville shows what are called "light pillars" and are created when city lights below reflect off six-sided ice crystals in the frozen clouds above.
"So it's kind of like a dinner plate," said Michael Kavulich with the National Center for Atmospheric Research. "And if there are very calm conditions, they'll settle in a horizontal orientation, and they can essentially act like mirrors."
The city lights will then bounce off each ice crystal, creating a majestic display.
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"When you see light pillars at night, that's due to actually lights at ground level reflecting off of these horizontal kinds of (ice) mirror crystals," Kavulich said.