Weird and wonderful light pillars spotted in Whitby, Ontario

·1 min read
Weird and wonderful light pillars spotted in Whitby, Ontario
Weird and wonderful light pillars spotted in Whitby, Ontario

It may look like something out of a science fiction movie, but 'light pillars' - like the ones spotted in Whitby, Ontario Friday - are a bonafide winter phenomenon.

"Light pillars appear on very cold nights, due to the presence of tiny hexagon-plate ice crystals in the air," explains Weather Network science writer Scott Sutherland.

"As these crystals float on air currents, their faces act like tiny mirrors, each reflecting the light from any source directly below, and as there are millions of these crystals suspended in the air, the light from street lamps or signs gets stretched high into the sky as towering pillars of illumination."

They're most likely to appear on cold, calm nights when ice crystals can form closer to the ground rather than higher up in the atmosphere.

And while they will usually form around an artificial lights, pillars can also form in the presence of natural sources, like the moon.

Check Whitby's recent light pillars out in the video above, and prepare to be amazed.

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