APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

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APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by APOD Robot » Mon Mar 04, 2024 5:06 am

Image Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia

Explanation: What's happening across that field? Pictured here are not auroras but nearby light pillars, a phenomenon typically much closer. In most places on Earth, a lucky viewer can see a Sun pillar, a column of light appearing to extend up from the Sun caused by flat fluttering ice-crystals reflecting sunlight from the upper atmosphere. Usually, these ice crystals evaporate before reaching the ground. During freezing temperatures, however, flat fluttering ice crystals may form near the ground in a form of light snow sometimes known as a crystal fog. These ice crystals may then reflect ground lights in columns not unlike a Sun pillar. The featured image was taken last month across the Wulan Butong Grasslands in Inner Mongolia, China.

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Holger Nielsen
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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by Holger Nielsen » Mon Mar 04, 2024 9:43 am

A similar photograph from Alaska was published in the APOD of 2016 February 8. The overlaid picture shows constellations and stars also in Chinese. All of them use three Chinese characters. I wonder what they mean. When pronounced would they sound like the Latin designations or are they poetic desciptions or what? By the way, two of the Latin names are incorrect: ”Draconis” should be ”Draco” and ”Leonis” shold be ”Leo”.

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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by johnnydeep » Mon Mar 04, 2024 6:52 pm

Holger Nielsen wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 9:43 am A similar photograph from Alaska was published in the APOD of 2016 February 8. The overlaid picture shows constellations and stars also in Chinese. All of them use three Chinese characters. I wonder what they mean. When pronounced would they sound like the Latin designations or are they poetic desciptions or what? By the way, two of the Latin names are incorrect: ”Draconis” should be ”Draco” and ”Leonis” shold be ”Leo”.
Well, google translate tells me that "draco" in English is "天龙座" in Simplified Chinese, which matches what the annotation shows, so I would expect the other annotations would be similar.

But FYI, "draconis" translates to the quite different "竭", but I know nothing about Chinese - simplified or otherwise! - so I can't offer you more than that!
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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:44 pm

This January 20, I noticed ice crystals sparkling in the light of the golf cart I was using to bring hay to our sheep. It was very cold, maybe around 5F. I live in middle Tennessee, and this kind of cold is unusual. I then noticed that, when I looked toward the lightbar on the golf cart, the sparkles were mostly only visible above and below the light. I figured that the ice crystals were the kind usually found in the arctic that can make light pillars. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got some photos of the phenomenon.

The reason that there is not a light pillar above the golf cart in the 2nd photo is because the ice crystals came in waves, and there were few ice crystals at that point. Maybe the ice crystals formed from steam coming from our creek. I'm not sure.

The light bar is failing, and parts of it are dimmer, so that's why in the third photo there are vertical stripes seen in the pillar. Orion is visible to the right in the first and third photos, and the Pleiades is visible above the moon in the second photo.
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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:51 pm

FLPhotoCatcher wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:44 pm This January 20, I noticed ice crystals sparkling in the light of the golf cart I was using to bring hay to our sheep. It was very cold, maybe around 5F. I live in middle Tennessee, and this kind of cold is unusual. I then noticed that, when I looked toward the lightbar on the golf cart, the sparkles were mostly only visible above and below the light. I figured that the ice crystals were the kind usually found in the arctic that can make light pillars. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got some photos of the phenomenon.

The reason that there is not a light pillar above the golf cart in the 2nd photo is because the ice crystals came in waves, and there were few ice crystals at that point. Maybe the ice crystals formed from steam coming from our creek. I'm not sure.

The light bar is failing, and parts of it are dimmer, so that's why in the third photo there are vertical stripes seen in the pillar. Orion is visible to the right in the first and third photos, and the Pleiades is visible above the moon in the second photo.
I've seen the same thing with oncoming headlights here in Colorado (where it does get that cold sometimes in winter).
Chris

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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:40 am

Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:51 pm
I've seen the same thing with oncoming headlights here in Colorado (where it does get that cold sometimes in winter).
I think I saw that once or twice in New York state when I lived there. But seeing it close up with a bright light is amazing. The photos were taken from about 30 yards away.

There was also a more diffuse light pillar that seemed to rise up 100 yards or more into the sky. It was caused by the bright light reflecting off the snow. I didn't get a good photo, but here is a bit of it. BTW, the light bar is completely behind a foreground mound.
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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by Chris Peterson » Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:43 am

FLPhotoCatcher wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:40 am
Chris Peterson wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:51 pm
I've seen the same thing with oncoming headlights here in Colorado (where it does get that cold sometimes in winter).
I think I saw that once or twice in New York state when I lived there. But seeing it close up with a bright light is amazing. The photos were taken from about 30 yards away.

There was also a more diffuse light pillar that seemed to rise up 100 yards or more into the sky. It was caused by the bright light reflecting off the snow. I didn't get a good photo, but here is a bit of it. BTW, the light bar is completely behind a foreground mound.
Where I've seen it with cars, it's most impressive on a road that's a bit hilly, so the pillar shows up but the headlights are hidden. You just see these ghostly bright columns sticking up into the sky, with no source.
Chris

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Ann
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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by Ann » Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:51 am

FLPhotoCatcher wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:44 pm This January 20, I noticed ice crystals sparkling in the light of the golf cart I was using to bring hay to our sheep. It was very cold, maybe around 5F. I live in middle Tennessee, and this kind of cold is unusual. I then noticed that, when I looked toward the lightbar on the golf cart, the sparkles were mostly only visible above and below the light. I figured that the ice crystals were the kind usually found in the arctic that can make light pillars. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got some photos of the phenomenon.

The reason that there is not a light pillar above the golf cart in the 2nd photo is because the ice crystals came in waves, and there were few ice crystals at that point. Maybe the ice crystals formed from steam coming from our creek. I'm not sure.

The light bar is failing, and parts of it are dimmer, so that's why in the third photo there are vertical stripes seen in the pillar. Orion is visible to the right in the first and third photos, and the Pleiades is visible above the moon in the second photo.

Amazing pictures, especially the first one! :shock: :D

You know what I like best about that picture? Well, the light pillar itself, and the visibly illuminated ice crystals close to it, is number one, of course. Seeing Orion behind it is a great bonus. But "a very close number two" to me is the amazing blue color of Sirius.

Seeing blue color in stars is very hard. Once, a long time ago, I read that blue stars have to be sufficiently bright to induce "a blue response" from our retinas. Your picture, which I take it is relatively "raw" - because surely you didn't spend hours processing it? - shows the same response as the human retina. Only the brightest bluish source, which is of course Sirius, looks blue (but not the much bluer stars of Orion).

In your third picture, Sirius does not look blue. I have no idea why. Anyway, superb pictures!

Ann
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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by FLPhotoCatcher » Tue Mar 05, 2024 9:37 am

Ann wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:51 am
FLPhotoCatcher wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:44 pm This January 20, I noticed ice crystals sparkling in the light of the golf cart I was using to bring hay to our sheep. It was very cold, maybe around 5F. I live in middle Tennessee, and this kind of cold is unusual. I then noticed that, when I looked toward the lightbar on the golf cart, the sparkles were mostly only visible above and below the light. I figured that the ice crystals were the kind usually found in the arctic that can make light pillars. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got some photos of the phenomenon.

The reason that there is not a light pillar above the golf cart in the 2nd photo is because the ice crystals came in waves, and there were few ice crystals at that point. Maybe the ice crystals formed from steam coming from our creek. I'm not sure.

The light bar is failing, and parts of it are dimmer, so that's why in the third photo there are vertical stripes seen in the pillar. Orion is visible to the right in the first and third photos, and the Pleiades is visible above the moon in the second photo.

Amazing pictures, especially the first one! :shock: :D

You know what I like best about that picture? Well, the light pillar itself, and the visibly illuminated ice crystals close to it, is number one, of course. Seeing Orion behind it is a great bonus. But "a very close number two" to me is the amazing blue color of Sirius.

Seeing blue color in stars is very hard. Once, a long time ago, I read that blue stars have to be sufficiently bright to induce "a blue response" from our retinas. Your picture, which I take it is relatively "raw" - because surely you didn't spend hours processing it? - shows the same response as the human retina. Only the brightest bluish source, which is of course Sirius, looks blue (but not the much bluer stars of Orion).

In your third picture, Sirius does not look blue. I have no idea why. Anyway, superb pictures!

Ann
Thanks for the complement!

I think Sirius is looking a bit bluer because my camera's lens is producing a bit of a "purple fringe". It's not all because of that effect though. I'm also not sure why in the third picture, Sirius does not look blue. I did not process them much, I only used the 'curves' tool to add a bit of blue to the darker shades since the sky didn't look blue enough. The lighter shades were basically not changed, and Sirius in the original pics looks identical.

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Re: APOD: Light Pillars Over Inner Mongolia (2024 Mar 04)

Post by Ann » Tue Mar 05, 2024 2:13 pm

FLPhotoCatcher wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 9:37 am
Ann wrote: Tue Mar 05, 2024 4:51 am
FLPhotoCatcher wrote: Mon Mar 04, 2024 7:44 pm This January 20, I noticed ice crystals sparkling in the light of the golf cart I was using to bring hay to our sheep. It was very cold, maybe around 5F. I live in middle Tennessee, and this kind of cold is unusual. I then noticed that, when I looked toward the lightbar on the golf cart, the sparkles were mostly only visible above and below the light. I figured that the ice crystals were the kind usually found in the arctic that can make light pillars. So I grabbed my camera and tripod, and got some photos of the phenomenon.

The reason that there is not a light pillar above the golf cart in the 2nd photo is because the ice crystals came in waves, and there were few ice crystals at that point. Maybe the ice crystals formed from steam coming from our creek. I'm not sure.

The light bar is failing, and parts of it are dimmer, so that's why in the third photo there are vertical stripes seen in the pillar. Orion is visible to the right in the first and third photos, and the Pleiades is visible above the moon in the second photo.

Amazing pictures, especially the first one! :shock: :D

You know what I like best about that picture? Well, the light pillar itself, and the visibly illuminated ice crystals close to it, is number one, of course. Seeing Orion behind it is a great bonus. But "a very close number two" to me is the amazing blue color of Sirius.

Seeing blue color in stars is very hard. Once, a long time ago, I read that blue stars have to be sufficiently bright to induce "a blue response" from our retinas. Your picture, which I take it is relatively "raw" - because surely you didn't spend hours processing it? - shows the same response as the human retina. Only the brightest bluish source, which is of course Sirius, looks blue (but not the much bluer stars of Orion).

In your third picture, Sirius does not look blue. I have no idea why. Anyway, superb pictures!

Ann
Thanks for the complement!

I think Sirius is looking a bit bluer because my camera's lens is producing a bit of a "purple fringe". It's not all because of that effect though. I'm also not sure why in the third picture, Sirius does not look blue. I did not process them much, I only used the 'curves' tool to add a bit of blue to the darker shades since the sky didn't look blue enough. The lighter shades were basically not changed, and Sirius in the original pics looks identical.
I believe I can think of another reason why Sirius looks blue in one of your pictures and non-blue in another.

Where I live, at 55.06 degrees latitude north, Sirius never rises that high in the sky, and it is always wildly flickering. And as I understand it, Sirius flickers even when observed from more southerly locations.

As Sirius flickers, it keeps changing color, too.

Click to play embedded YouTube video.

Perhaps you took your first picture when Sirius was really "flickering blue"? But when you took your other picture, it wasn't?

Ann
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