Light is a mesmerising thing. Not only can we see things because of light, but it can also create some fantastical illusions in nature. As recently observed in the USA, where a mystical pillar of light formed in the Northern sky around North Platte, Nebraska. The mysterious light show was compared to alien lights and science-fiction movie effects online. The optical show was a result of an extremely calm weather on a very cold night.
As you go farther north, the light starts to behave very differently than it does around the tropics.
“It was almost like I was looking at the northern lights because they were bouncing, moving and changing in appearance,” Bill Taylor, a National Weather Service Meteorologist,was quoted by CNN. The channel urged everyone who is around the region to leave the warm comforts of the house to see this once in a lifetime event.
The sight was due to the very lightice particles near the ground which allowed the glow to remain suspended in the air, forming beautiful pillars. In absence of disturbance (like breeze), the hexagonally shaped ice particles became vertically stacked. They aren’t still though, they are still drifting through the atmosphere.
Then this giant ice sheet starts to reflect any available light source. It could be human made like a street light or natural sources like sun/moon light. Have a look:
According to the National Weather Service of Wisconsin, the pillars get taller,the higher the ice crystals are suspended in the atmosphere. It can only happen when the air outside is below freezing temperature. Though there is no study to show what that exact temperature threshold could be, most experts believe it should be at least -10o Fahrenheit. Additionally, the climate should be of an utmost calm as to not disturb the sheet.
According to NWS, at the time this photograph was taken, the temperature was minus 20 Fahrenheit (-28oC). This is the coldest weather since March of 2019.