Columns of ice

Gregg Alliss, taken from Cedar Rapids, Iowa

No, this image isn’t a display or aurorae — these beams are light pillars, a phenomenon caused by light reflecting off of ice crystals suspended in the air. Like an atmospheric halo, the pillar isn’t real. Light from a source (in this case, usually near the ground) reflects off ice crystals above it towards the observer, appearing to form a vertical pillar. They’re often seen in frigid weather — the photographer reported the air temperature here was 9 degrees Fahrenheit (–13 degrees Celsius).