Otherworldly light pillars captured over Whitefish Bay

Via:  Buzz of the Orient  •  5 months ago  •  5 comments

Otherworldly light pillars captured over Whitefish Bay

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Otherworldly light pillars captured over Whitefish Bay

By MICHAEL D'ESTRIES, Mother Nature Network, November 2, 2018,


Light pillars over Whitefish Bay on the shore of Lake Superior as captured by nocturnal photographer Vincent Brady. (Photo: Vincent Brady)

At first glance, the mesmerizing light display that occurred on Oct. 16 over Whitefish Bay, Michigan, had all the hallmarks of a visual effect from a science-fiction film. Instead of "first contact," however, this beautiful shimmer is actually a fairly common optical phenomenon called a light pillar.

Light pillars form when sources of light from the ground, sun or even the moon interact with horizontal concentrations of ice crystals in the atmosphere. When viewed from a distance, these crystals align in such a way as to create the optical illusion of a dazzling pillar of light.

Photographer Vincent Brady, who specializes in capturing nocturnal scenes, said in a Facebook post that he was "pleasantly surprised" to come across the phenomenon.

"This is a shot north of Paradise, MI looking east over Whitefish Bay," he wrote. "The red lights are around the Canadian island Ile Parisienne. I'm not entirely sure of the artificial light source of the pillars."


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Buzz of the Orient
1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient    5 months ago

Fascinating.  (Well, at least for those who have an interest in anything other than politics and insulting other members.)

2  TTGA    4 months ago

Buzz, those look like a form of the Northern Lights (Aurora Borealis).  The southern shoreline of Lake Superior is about as far south as they can be seen (unfortunately, since I'm about three hundred miles too far south to see them).  They are absolutely beautiful and can take many shapes and sizes.  The cause is ionization of the sunlight around the North Pole.  The Earth is like a giant magnet and the intensity of the magnetic field at the Poles acting on the solar rays make that effect.  Some day I'm going to get up there again and get some pictures of it.  It's probably the most interesting space based phenomena that can be seen without a pretty powerful telescope. The rings of Saturn would be another but you need a big telescope to see then clearly.

Buzz of the Orient
2.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  TTGA @2    4 months ago

I saw the Northern Lights from my lakeside home in Ontario's Haliburton Lakes District, and I think that's farther south than Whitefish Bay.

3  Kavika     4 months ago

It's been a very long time since I've been to White Fish Bay....There is quite the history there. 

The photo is beautiful, other worldly so to speak. 

Buzz of the Orient
3.1  seeder  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Kavika @3    4 months ago

I know that YOU know that Gord Lightfoot's song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald mentions that the ship was hoping to make it to Whitefish Bay, where it would have been safer.


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