Light Pillars over Finland

These are nearby light pillars, a local phenomenon that can appear as a distant one, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere.    Image ©  Thomas Kast

Usually these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow, sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground lights in columns not unlike a Sun-pillar.

Photographer Thomas Kast captured the above light pillars extending up from bright parking lot lights in Oulu, Finland.

source APOD