They call them “sun pillars”, vertical shafts of light extending upwards from the setting Sun into the sky. A type of halo effect, they form when sunlight reflects off the surface of falling ice crystals and thus, are more common in cold, snowy northern latitudes than other parts of the world. Occasionally the optical phenomenon can also be produced from other sources of light, including streetlights. Such was the case in Finland last week when light pillars rose into the air projecting a perfect map of the city’s streets into the dark, night sky.
On January 12, 2016, residents of Kauttua, Finland were treated to an unusual pattern of beautiful, bright, glowing lines in the sky. Many took pictures and posted them on the Internet. It wasn’t long before residents noticed that one man’s photos had a different perspective. Typically, light pillars are viewed from the side and appear as bright lines climbing upward through the dark sky. In Mia Heikklia’s case however, he was by chance, situated directly underneath the light pillars providing him a unique viewpoint that showed the termination point of each light pillar. The bizarre result was not random streaks of light at all but rather, a perfect glowing, reverse-image map of the city’s streets.
Check out the photos below which compare the light pillars in the sky to a map of Kauttua.