Astrophoto: Sun Pillar of Fire and Ice

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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Astrophoto: Stunning Alaskan Sun Pillar

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Cold enough for you? Jason Ahrns captured this brilliant Sun pillar, “reaching down into the trees just below the Geophysical Institute, University of Alaska Fairbanks on a nice -40 C (or F — its all the same) day,” Jason said.

A Sun (or solar) pillar is a vertical shaft of light extending upward or downward from the Sun, and are typically seen in cold weather when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds.

Jason used a Nikon D7000 camera.

Want to get your astrophoto featured on Universe Today? Join our Flickr group, or send us your images by email (this means you’re giving us permission to post them). Please explain what’s in the picture, when you took it, the equipment you used, etc.