Over the past couple of years, videos and photographs have been popping up across the internet showcasing this wondrous natural phenomenon. Known as sun pillars, or light pillars, the phenomenon sees vertical pillars of light beaming up into the sky.
Take a look:
The pillars form when sunlight (or another bright light source) reflects off the surfaces of millions of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds. The effect is very similar to glitter paths on water caused by the reflection of a light source off the surface of water covered with small waves and ripples.
Sun pillars will most often occur when the sun is low before sunset, or just after the breaking of dawn. Light pillars can be seen at any time of night and are caused by the moon or even streetlights.
Pillars are often seen across Canada and the US during winter and early spring and they are also commonly seen over Niagara Falls, where the mist from the descending water interacts with the city’s many upward facing spotlights.
It is here that the light pillars are often mistaken as UFO sightings. But who can blame them? These light pillars look pretty extra-terrestrial.