The photo above showing a breathtaking Sun pillar was captured at sunset near Jenison, Michigan on April 10, 2012. Sun pillars result from the reflection of sunlight off the bottom surfaces (or less frequently, the top surfaces) of plate-shaped ice crystals composing cirrus clouds. Photographer: Kevin Povenz; Kevin’s Flickr Web site
These crystals must be similarly oriented and slightly tipped with respect to the viewer in order for a pillar to be observed. The crimson shaft piercing the purple sky made this sunset unforgettable.
Summary Author: Andrew McFarlane; Jim Foster