Light pillars, 'sun dogs' common during Northeast Ohio winters - Cleveland 19 News Cleveland, OH

Light pillars, 'sun dogs' common during Northeast Ohio winters

A light pillar in Perry Township on Jan. 16, from the Marathon Refinery (Submitted by Patrick McCarthy) A light pillar in Perry Township on Jan. 16, from the Marathon Refinery (Submitted by Patrick McCarthy)
CLEVELAND, OH (WOIO) -

They look like lights from an alien spaceship, but they are actually light pillars, a spectacular sight most commonly seen during the colder winter months. 

The phenomenon's name describes narrow rods that appear to extend from the sky to the ground.

You may think the strange auras are a natural phenomenon, but they are usually a man-made visual.

According to The Weather Channel, light pillars are formed by ice crystals in the air that reflect lights, such as the lighting of a city skyline.

The pillars are actually an optical illusion, since they do not typically originate from a particular natural light source.

Like light pillars, "sun dogs" are also common during the winter season.


As it gets colder, keep an eye out for 'sun dogs' in Northeast Ohio's sky


They are best seen during sunrise or sunset.

(Photo via the National Weather Service.)

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