Anomalous light pillars appear in the sky of Borneo – A polar phenomenon in the tropics, oh yeah!

Those amazing light beams reaching up to the sky normally appear during glacial days near the north pole.

But these anomalous light pillars formed in the sky of Borneo. Hu Ho!

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Extremely rare and anomalous light pillars appear in the sky of Borneo on June 22, 2017. Photo by Andrew Tan

On June 22, 2017, a group of astrophotographers – out to capture shots of the Milky Way – were surprised by these anomalous pillars of light Pulau Kelambu, located at the tip of Borneo.

The multicoloured light pillars are said to be a natural phenomenon that occurs when light reflects off the mirror-like surfaces of ice crystals. They are usually found in the polar regions, but have appeared at lower latitudes before. Light pillars occur when the source of the light — either the sun, or the moon — are near the horizon. The lights tend to take on the colour of the light source.

Borneo benefits from year-round temperatures averaging between 27°C & 32°C, with a relative humidity of around 80% for much of the year. So please tell me how such ice cristals can form even at high altitude! It’s just weird and anomalous!

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Light pillars captured in Borneo in June 2017. By Christianto Mogolid

A local astronomer in the group – Christianto Mogolid – had already experienced light pillars in Sabah in both 2006 and 2015.

Extremely rare and anomalous light pillars formed over a Malaysian Beach on June 22, 2017.

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