All Things Maine
All Things Maine

Monday, January 02, 2006

A Sun Pillar Over Maine

Dandemalion at Strange Maine points us toward today's Astronomy Picture of the Day at NASA. It's a photograph of a "sun pillar" seen over Bangor last month.
When the air is cold and the Sun is rising or setting, falling ice crystals can reflect sunlight and create an unusual column of light. Ice sometimes forms flat, stop-sign shaped crystals as it falls from high-level clouds. Air resistance causes these crystals to lie nearly flat much of the time as they flutter to the ground. Sunlight reflects off crystals that are properly aligned, creating the sun-pillar effect. [Link]
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