YouTuber and photographer Timmy Joe saw spectacular light pillars on an arctic January night from his northern Ontario home. He thought they were northern lights until he went to investigate. It's a totally different phenomenon, as he helpfully explains.
From the handy website Atmospheric Optics:
Columns of light apparently beaming directly upwards from unshielded (and wastefully polluting) lights are sometimes visible during very cold weather. 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 downwards. The pillars are not physically over the lights or anywhere else in space for that matter ~ like all halos they are purely the collected light beams from all the millions of crystals which just happen to be reflecting light towards your eyes or camera.
They include a diagram and other images of the phenomenon.
• Laser Beams From Space?! What Are Light Pillars? (YouTube / Timmy Joe)
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