Rare ‘Light Pillar’ Phenomenon Seen in Kalamazoo. What Causes it?
With the winter season comes the potential for a number of different weather phenomenons.
Things like ice fog, snownadoes, thundersnow, and a lot more. In fact, there are at least 10 phenomenons you might see during winter which are detailed in this article from activetimes.com.
But, have you ever seen light pillars?
If you don't know, light pillars are a spectacle that appear to be columns of light reaching up into the sky. The phenomenon is caused by light refracting off of ice crystals in the air. It only occurs in extremely cold and extremely calm conditions and, according to accuweather.com,
Typically, ice crystals are small enough to remain suspended in the air and only form when temperatures are below zero.
Apparently, those conditions were met in Kalamazoo this morning (1/26/22).
A listener, who prefers to remain anonymous, sent us a photo she was able to capture at around 4:30 this morning:
In her message she said,
I thought my eyes were playing tricks on me since it was so early. Either that or the aliens had finally decided to visit Earth lol. In my time in Michigan, this is the first time I've seen this. Incredible!
Truly, that would be an alarming sight if you've never heard of light pillars. But, thankfully, there's no alien invasion in Kalamazoo. At least, not today.
Stacey in Coldwater was able to capture these two photos showing the same phenomenon:
It really does look like there's a huge event or party utilizing spotlights to let you know that it's happening nearby.
Spotting these light pillars can be tricky given the perfect conditions that have to be met. Should you venture out to catch this phenomenon keep in mind you'll probably have to be up pretty early, like our listener was, to see them. But, with the frigid conditions in SW Michigan, who knows? Maybe you'll be lucky.
If you'd like to learn more about light pillars and when you might be able to spot them, scienceabc.com has a very detailed and easy-to-understand article about these light pillars.
Temps have been rather chilly in the Kalamazoo area. If you're saying, "who cares about light pillars? I want warmth," you're definitely not alone. When will we be above freezing? It's hard to tell. But, fingers-crossed, this article will give you some hope:
Do you ever get a headache from the weather? It's definitely a thing. Plus, here are at least 50 other weather-related questions answered: