Tuesday, January 20, 2015

January 20, 2015 - Sun Pillar


A small sun pillar is my reward for hailing Ra on his journey to the underworld tonight.  A sun pillar is an optical phenomenon that occurs when sunlight reflects on ice crystals with somewhat horizontal parallel planar surfaces.  They drift quickly back and forth as they fall downward.  Usually the crystals are associated with very high clouds, but for some reason, these lower clouds are dropping their little crystals.  The sun has to be very low on the horizon or just below the horizon for a pillar to form.  The reflection on the crystals makes a beam that extends five to ten degrees beyond the sun, and voila, a sun pillar is formed.

Sun pillars don’t last very long, maybe 10 minutes or so, sometimes only a few seconds.  This one was visible for about a minute.  I’m taking it as a sign of good luck.  I think Ra’s chariot must be very grand, indeed, to elicit such beauty.  Tonight he fights in the underworld and will drive Apep away when he returns at dawn tomorrow morning.  Will he bring another sun pillar then, I wonder?  I wouldn’t be surprised.

A sun pillar appears as Ra heads to the underworld.

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