"See the sun pillar
?" Park asks, pointing above the roof.
A sun pillar
may sometimes embellish the rising or setting Sun, appearing as a ghostly column of light reaching upward into the sky (see below).
These events, which I describe in more detail in my book Marking Time (Wiley, October 1999), seem to have been set in train by a combined Sun pillar
and parhelic circle seen by Constantine and his men almost 1,700 years ago.
This phenomenon is called a Sun pillar
- another entrant in the optical pageant of the atmosphere, joining halos, sundogs, and other skyward splashes of light.
Rodney Kubesh's BASIC program discussed on the previous pages is a simplistic simulation of a Sun pillar
but nevertheless offers readers a way to learn about its properties.
One is a sun pillar
(column of sunlight extending up from a low Sun); the other is an upper tangential arc (arc of several, sometimes all, spectral colors located 22 above the Sun).
I mentioned that early editions of Marcel Minnaert's classic book The Nature of Light and Colour in the Open Air explained the false image as a detached piece of a "Sun pillar
." This familiar effect is caused by sunlight reflecting from the horizontal faces of high-altitude ice crystals.
The extra Sun image was supposed to be simply an enhanced section of a "Sun pillar
," a much better-known phenomenon caused by sunlight reflecting off the faces of horizontally floating ice crystals.
In Neilsen's case the solar disk was also embellished with short, vertical Sun pillar
This phenomenon, fairly common and sometimes arresting, is called a Sun pillar
. In our climes it is especially likely to be seen in winter.
Look for Sun dogs, Sun pillars
, and radiant crepuscular rays.
Daytime atmospheric phenomena such as Sun pillars
, halos, and rainbows can be recorded by simply hand-holding your camera.