Dazzling optical illusion created by low temps appears in northern U.S.

by Joel Abbott · Feb 12th, 2021 12:25 pm
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Last Updated Feb 13th, 2021 at 7:34 pm

Cold temperatures in the northern U.S. are creating optical "pillar" illusions of the Aurora Borealis and other light sources, a phenomenon caused by light being refracted through falling ice crystals in windless conditions.

"Plate-shaped ice crystals, normally only present in high clouds, float in the air close to the ground and their horizontal facets reflect light back downward," said the National Weather Service of La Crosse, Wisconsin.

Temperatures must be below 10ºF in order for the unique optical illusion to occur.


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