Why Are Amazing Pillars Of Light Randomly Appearing In Idaho?
During this cold snap we've been experiencing in the Treasure Valley over the past week, pillars of light have formed in the distance. They look a little ominous, but I couldn't find any doomsday prophecy about light pillars, so I think we're safe from impending doom. While they may not be supernatural, they are a fascinating natural phenomenon.
What Are The Light Pillars We See On Cold Nights?
Light pillars are actually just ice crystals in the air that reflect light. For these crystals to form, the temperature must be below 32 degrees. These crystals act like tiny mirrors, reflecting the light below them, creating what looks like a pillar of light.
How Do Light Pillars Form?
Conditions have to be perfect for this to happen. The wind has to be calm. Otherwise, the crystals are disrupted, making them less reflective. Foggy nights make it even easier for these to form in the low clouds. These ice crystals are sometimes called "diamond dust" because of their reflective hexagon-shaped appearance.
Without these factors in place, there's no way for these light pillars to occur. When they do, it's definitely Instagram-worthy! At the very least, you'll want a picture on your phone of your house surrounded by these light pillars.
Obviously, the further north you travel in Idaho, the more likely you are to see them, as the further north you go, the more perfect conditions are more common. Did you see these light pillars at your house this week? We'd love to share your pictures on Facebook.
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Gallery Credit: Michelle Heart