– It was a fantastic thing to witness. I have never seen anything like this.
Before going to bed Sunday night, photographer Kjell Sæther glanced out the window, and discovered a very special light-phenomena in the atmosphere above the small town of Karasjok.
– Well, I told my wife that I had to jump in the car and go take some pictures of this spectacular event.
It was a crisp, cold night, and the temperature had dropped below -25C. The sky was full of multi colored light pillars. They painted a beautiful scenery in all the colors of the rainbow.
– At first, I thought it was aurora borealis, the northern light. Then I noticed it was tiny ice crystals that fell from above and absorbed light from all directions, Sæther explains.
– Did it only look like this through the camera lens?
– Oh no. In reality, it was so much more beautiful.
See more photographs in the top section of this article, and watch this time-lapse video:
– An optical phenomena
Mr. John Smits is a meteorologist at The Norwegian Meteorological Institute. He explains that what Mr. Kjell Sæther saw that night was an optical phenomenon, called light pillars.
– It occurs when there is no wind, cold air full of floating ice crystals. The ice crystals then have to be aligned in vertical bands. The horizontal facets then reflects the light from all nearby light-sources and from a distance it can look like laser beams shooting up from the earth's surface.
– A very magnificent and delightful phenomena.
In 2010, there were many observations of light pillars occurring in Norway, Mr. Smits continues.
– But this is an extraordinary nice photo were we can see every single light source.