Astrophoto: Sun Pillar of Fire and Ice

Article written: 21 May , 2013
Updated: 23 Dec , 2015
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Astrophotographer Rick Ellis from Toronto, Canada recently imaged a Sun pillar against a truly fiery sunset. Sun pillars are a vertical shaft of light extending upward or downward from the Sun, usually seen during sunrise or sunset. They form when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of high-altitude hexagonal-shaped or flat ice crystals. The crystals are typically associated with thin, high-level clouds, such as cirrostratus clouds. “Fire and ice,” Rick said via email. “Robert Frost would approve.”

Rick used a Canon A460, 1/100 seconds exposure at f/3.5, ISO 80.

And here’s Robert Frost’s famous poem:

FIRE AND ICE
by Robert Frost

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favor fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

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