Look at these laser beams from outer space!
The suddenly appeared over northern Ontario on January 6, 2017.
Despite appearances, aliens have not descended upon a snowy scape in Ontario, Canada. Rather, an Earthly phenomenon is the cause of a ring of brilliant shafts of pastel-colored lights, captured in the wee hours of the morning by Timmy Joe Elzinga using his smartphone camera.
It was 1:30 a.m. local time in northern Ontario on Jan. 6 when Elzinga spotted the phenomenon.
“When I first saw these light beams shooting through the sky from my bathroom window, I was sure they were the northern lights,” told Elzinga. “I was able to capture these images both because the lights were so bright and pronounced and because I’m a bit of an amateur photographer.”
Elzinga said he wasn’t aware of this light-pillar phenomenon until he saw it firsthand.
Ice from high altitudes explains the pillars that Elzinga saw. During some cold, wintry nights, flat ice crystals that normally reside higher up in the atmosphere come fluttering closer to the ground. These whimsically wobbling ice crystals are sometimes referred to as crystal fog. When the crystals reflect ground lights from nearby cars and other bits of civilization, the result can be glorious: columns of light called “light pillars.”
The pillars are not physically over the lights or anywhere else in space for that matter — like all halos, they are purely the collected light beams from all the millions of crystals, which just happen to be reflecting light towards your eyes or camera.
The light pillars are so strange-looking that people often mistake them for UFOs. There are said to be a lot of UFO reports caused by light pillars over Niagara Falls, where the mist from the rush of descending water interacts with the city’s many upward-facing spotlights.
And Elzinga saw quite a light show, which faded away after 45 minutes or so.