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Photographer Captures Stunning Natural Phenomenon Called 'Light Pillars' In Northern Ontario

There are so many spectacular phenomena on Earth. Just when you think you have seen it all, a new one is discovered to leave you in awe all over again. We are all familiar with the aurora borealis and the brilliant dance of color that adorns the sky. People travel from all over the world to places like Greenland, Norway, or Iceland to get a glimpse of it. Yet another phenomenon that has people stunned is an out of the world light formation called "light pillars." It quite literally looks like pillars of light extending toward the sky as if from a light show. But it is all-natural and not created by an alien spaceship.


The light pillar phenomenon was captured by photographer and YouTuber Timothy Joseph Elzinga who shared it with the rest of the world. He documented this other-worldly sight in a YouTube vlog describing it as a "bat signal just flowing into the sky." The Canadian resident explained how he woke up in the middle of the night to the wondrous sight of colorful light shining in the night sky. Convinced that it was the northern lights, he tried to go up the highway to shoot the lights. Much to his disappointment, there was nothing to see there. On his way back home, he saw the lights again and even got beautiful shots of it.


"It looked like someone from Star Trek was trying to beam people up," Elzinga told CBC News. "It was very bright in person, like nothing I've ever seen. It almost seemed supernatural." Although it is a well-documented occurrence, not many know about it. According to AccuWeather, "Light pillars are an optical phenomenon caused when light is refracted by ice crystals. These lights tend to take on the color of the light source." The ice crystals are formed in the first place because of the extremely cold climate that freezes the moisture in a still environment. The moisture, undisturbed by wind, freezes in place and channels right from nearby sources.


"They appear as beams of light to the observer. It is usually caused by street lights. However, any source of light can create a light pillar given proper conditions," AccuWeather Meteorologist David Samuhel stated. Even Elzinga noted how the traffic lights, the street lights going on and off, neon signs from nearby businesses, contributed to the pretty display of lights. And unlike the northern lights, for the light pillars to show, the ice crystals need to be near the ground. This explains why as Elzinga was going towards the higher ground, he could not see the lights.


"Auroras are observed across a much wider area since they occur many miles up in the atmosphere. Light pillars occur close to the ground in the lowest levels of the atmosphere," Samuhel confirmed, adding, "If you can predict cold and calm conditions, you can probably forecast when light pillars are able to be seen. But, the forecasting of ice crystal formation is more difficult." Light pillars almost look like a concert is happening right around the corner. And as one YouTuber commenter put it, "Nature's way of saying 'don't go outside, it's cold as F.'"

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