No, those weren't the Northern Lights shining in the night sky this past weekend. It was another weather phenomenon known as 'Light Pillars' and they were beautiful!

The amazing lights were seen late on Saturday night and early Sunday morning in areas of Eastern Iowa. Just what are light pillars? Really, nothing more than a weather-related optical illusion! Our friends in the KCRG Weather Lab state that light pillars form in very cold air masses when moisture in the air is likely in the form of ice crystals. Those crystals slowly drift through the air and usually orient themselves parallel to the ground. When you get light from sources like street lights, buildings, or other sources, it reflects off the crystals and back to the ground, giving the illusion of, you guessed it, pillars of light!


Many people thought they might be seeing the Northern Lights, but light pillars are actually similar to another cold weather phenomenon, sun dogs. Both are commonly seen during the colder winter months, however, both sun dogs and light pillars can happen in warmer months too! It sure was quite the site to see!

Jenni Piric
Jenni Pirc
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A big thank you to KHAK listener Jenni Pirc for sharing her pictures of Saturday night's light pillars. If you have some images you would like to share with us, make sure and send them to us using the free-to-download 98.1 KHAK app!

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