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 Received : 11/20/08  Daniel LEVIN   

There were lengthy and extensive sightings of vertical light pillars in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA last night from around 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. local time....  read more 

 Received : 11/20/08  Anthony VELGUS   

I just wanted to report seeing some light pillars last night near White Haven, Pennsylvania at approximately 00:30 Zulu Time....  read more 

 Received : 11/21/08  Anthony VELGUS   

Thanks for the explanation, but now I have another question : does the light source necessarily have to be shining directly up to cause this....  read more 

 Received : 11/21/08  Daniel LEVIN   

Thanks for the reply and the additional confirmation that is was a light pillar event.....  read more 

 Received : 11/24/08  Daniel LEVIN   

I'm sure that the phenomenon happens more than it is observed here, but to have on occurrence in a place where the meteorologist don't even recognize it and to have dozens of light pillars visible over hundreds of square kilometers and many compass directions has to be rare.

One other point of local geography of which you may not have been aware is that Pittsburgh is over 500 km (300 miles) from Philadelphia, so I don't know if that impacts the conclusions you drew from the balloon sounding you mentioned or not.

Garnet Valley, Pennsylvania

Our reply :

Although the Pittsburgh weather station from where this balloon was released is about 450 km (roughly 280 miles) west of Philadelphia, it was our best option. With winds blowing from a generally western direction, and knowing that the balloon was released at 7 p.m. while most of the sightings occurred between 7:30 and 9 p.m., we can be pretty confident that the data registered by the Pittsburgh balloon matched fairly closely the atmospheric condition for the Philadelphia area. Still, we admit that an altitude of 2.4 km for the ice-crystal cloud is not to be considered an established fact. We are currently trying to collect additional data that may help determine the altitude of the reflective ice-crystal layer more accurately.

The pillars seen over Philadelphia are also the subject of one of our case examples.


 Received : 11/20/09  Anthony FAULKNER   

On the night of November 18th, 2009 I saw about 20 light pillars in the sky above Mihonoseki, Shimane, Japan. It was very strange.....  read more 

 Received : 01/28/10  Fred ZUMPANO   

I live on the outskirts of Akron, Ohio. Tonight, Jan 28, 11 p.m., took my dog out. As I look on the horizon of this busy city, and look towards the city, vertical shafts of light are rising in the southerly sky......  read more 

 Received : 09/04/11  Andrew T. YOUNG   

This visitor response relates to Chapter 4 of our article on light pillars, and in particular to the part where we mention the observation of a "circular reflection" near the zenith produced by a combustion flame from an oil rig in the North Sea on October 20, 1993.  read more 

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