Upper Sun Pillar

Upper sin pillar forming a 4th silo on a Portage County, Wisconsin farm

Upper sin pillar forming a fourth silo on a Portage County, Wisconsin farm

Plate like crystals

Plate like crystals

When conditions are right, tiny ice crystals fill the atmosphere. When these crystals are associated with thin high-level clouds they are shaped

like plates with flat surfaces on the top and bottom. These crystals then gently float to the ground. Just before sunrise, the sun is not yet visible but its rays lighten the distant sky. Far in the distance, the sun’s light can be roughly parallel to the ice crystals. The light is then reflected through the crystal to ice crystals above and below intensifying the light.

On a very cold January morning I noticed this upper sun pillar (the light shaft is above the rising sun) and then worked to find an interesting foreground element.

Do you like the pillar appearing as a fourth silo on this farm?

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2 Responses to “Upper Sun Pillar”

  1. Upper Sun Pillar Over Bear Creek | MD Leader Says:

    […] There are two Bear Creeks in Portage County. One is east of the Wisconsin River, this one is west of the river. In a recent post I provided a description of  an Upper Sun Pillar. […]

  2. Bilateral Sun Dogs | MD Leader Says:

    […] Like sun pillars, this atmospheric phenomenon is due to ice crystals. Where as sun pillars owe their existence to plate like crystals, sundogs are due to light reflecting through hexagonal crystals.  If the crystals are oriented with their flat faces horizontal, a sundog is observed. If the hexagonal crystals are randomly oriented, a halo is formed. […]

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