Sun pillar springs up over cold Kansas City metro sky

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Sun Pillar picture
Picture courtesy of Ron Conger in Belton, Mo.

BELTON, Mo. — If you were out and about on Saturday night, December 14, you might have seen a tower of light spring up over the metro.

This atmospheric phenomenon is actually called a sun pillar, according to the National Weather Service.

Sun pillars form when the sun is near the horizon – in this case, at sunset. That’s why the sun pillar is brightest at the bottom and fades as it gets toward the top.

As the light shines toward the viewers eyes, tiny ice particles falling to the earth refract some of the light upward.

If you missed this one but want a good chance of seeing another, don’t worry. Sun pillars appear most often on cold days when cirrus clouds are present.

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