Crystals At Work … Again


This photo was taken from the parking lot of First United Methodist Church on Skyline Parkway this morning. A feather of light, called a sun pillar, is visible beneath the sun. Photo: Bob King

When the air is cold, ice crystals get busy. Yesterday’s blog looked at artificial light pillars created by gently-falling ice. Today we have partial sunshine and a fine "diamond dust" of snow sparkling in the air. On the way to work, I noticed a sun pillar below the sun, aimed down at Lake Superior. Usually pillars are best seen above the light source, but when the sun is low and you have a horizon, you’ll sometimes see the bottom half of a pillar too.

2 Responses

  1. buffalo gal

    Your blogsite is so busy I could not get on it two nights ago when I wanted to….sun dogs are fascinating more than ever after I read about them in your blogs. AFter Prairie Woman got it right about a blizzard following the appearance of sun dogs I have really been paying attention. There were a lot of sun dogs about two days ago in the afternoon—-and now another blzzard is on the way. Is there really a connection between sun dogs and coming blizzards? I would like to know.

  2. astrobob

    Hi Buffalo gal! Yes, there’s a connection. You get haloes and sundogs (they’re often seen together) from high cirrostatus clouds. New weather fronts pushing into our region often produce very high clouds at first, which over a day or two get lower until they become rain/snow clouds. So when you see a sundog/halo and the clouds get thicker during the day, that’s a very good sign of a change in the weather toward wet or snow. Good question!

Comments are closed.

Crystals At Work … Again


This photo was taken from the parking lot of First United Methodist Church on Skyline Parkway this morning. A feather of light, called a sun pillar, is visible beneath the sun. Photo: Bob King

When the air is cold, ice crystals get busy. Yesterday’s blog looked at artificial light pillars created by gently-falling ice. Today we have partial sunshine and a fine "diamond dust" of snow sparkling in the air. On the way to work, I noticed a sun pillar below the sun, aimed down at Lake Superior. Usually pillars are best seen above the light source, but when the sun is low and you have a horizon, you’ll sometimes see the bottom half of a pillar too.