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light pillar in Xiamen
People in the city of Xiamen, China, contemplate a series of light pillars in the night sky.

"At first, there were only five of them, hanging very low in the sky, but after a short while, the number increased to about fifty, and they were higher and higher, just like a stave hanging in the sky", an observer told reporters of the Southeast Express.

The pillars appeared around 11:30 p.m. on July 9, 2010. The photo shows the lights below the cloud deck, implying that the reflecting ice-crystal layer was relatively close to the ground and the light sources responsible for the pillars not too far away.

[Photo: Southeast Express - image and story found on]