Brutal cold providing neat beauty

Nancy Deaver - Newark (1/1/18)

NEWARK (WCMH) – Depending on how you were celebrating the New Year, the odds are if you were in Central Ohio and outside you were really cold!  For some of us in the coldest spots, where temperatures were more than ten below zero (-10) we had some shallow ice fog last night.

Check out these amazing pictures of the light pillars that were formed by ice fog:

Nancy Deaver sent these in to NBC 4 today from pictures she took in Newark around midnight this morning.

Nancy Deaver – Newark (1/1/18)

 

Nancy Deaver – Newark (1/1/18)

 

Nancy Deaver – Newark (1/1/18)

 

Nancy Deaver – Newark (1/1/18)


How are these light pillars formed?

These things are in the same family as sun halos, and even rainbows in the fact that they are scattering of light through water or in this case ice crystals.  Last night areas around Central Ohio had temperatures that were falling below minus ten last night, and we were near the dewpoint temperature with no wind last night.

We had shallow fog that was above the ground by still nearby (as you can see in the photos above).  The light that was being put off by the street lights, Christmas lights, and house lights was being scattered in every direction.  As some of that light was directed upward into the ice fog that had formed, it was being scattered by the ice crystals in this layer.

Since the ice crystals are slowly being pulled down by gravity, they are being oriented in a way that the light is passing through and being reflected and directed up and down through the air.  This keeps happening through the layer of crystals and you end up with these neat looking light pillars.

They basically have the look of a somewhat man made northern lights.  I saw the same thing last night out by my house around 9:00 last night, but unlike Nancy I didn’t think ahead to take the picture.  So Nancy, thank you very much for sending in the pictures.

If you ever have questions about any strange things you see in the sky, cool pictures than need explaining, any other science or weather things, email me, dmazza@wcmh.com

 

-Dave

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