sun pillar

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A halo phenomenon consisting of a vertical streak of light passing through the true Sun. It is caused by reflection from horizontal faces of ice crystals, i.e. faces that are parallel to the ground. On rare occasions, regarded with awe in more superstitious times, it may occur with part of the parhelic circle to give the appearance of a cross centred on the Sun. See also subsun.

Subjects: Meteorology and Climatology.

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