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).
The description sounds very much like that of a Sun pillar
, which was certainly a possibility at that time of year (the end of October), when an icy upper atmosphere would be plausible.
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 assumed that this bar hid the rest of an upward Sun pillar
that was being formed in higher-altitude cirrus cloud.
In Neilsen's case the solar disk was also embellished with short, vertical Sun pillar
Thus, when this colorful arc appears high above a Sun pillar
, it's an indication that the pillar might be of the pencil-crystal variety.
This phenomenon, fairly common and sometimes arresting, is called a Sun pillar
Look for Sun dogs, Sun pillars
, and radiant crepuscular rays.
Bright Sun pillars
, such as this outstanding example captured after the Sun had descended behind Monte Bianco in Italy, are due to ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere with their flat surfaces aligned horizontally.