Sunday, December 31, 2017

Light Pillars on a Winter Night

December 25 slid by quietly. The night grew quieter and colder. Too eerily quiet, no palpable movement anywhere, as if everybody else froze except me. 

After watching an episode of a TV series that hubby and I are following, I peeked through the glass door to our balcony and perfunctorily checked if there was a northern light going on that night. Something on the horizon snapped my head sideways. Two vertical bars with intense light shot up in the air. Reports of such sighting in the past led some to believe that UFOs were visiting. But I instantly knew what those light bars really were.

And so, I dashed to grab my camera that was already sitting on the tripod, which is always ready in case some atmospheric phenomena would occur, while the words "Uh-uh... this is gonna be a phenomenal moment!" kept ringing on my head. I've seen a few in the past, though only 2 or 3 bars in color white. This time, though, several colorful light bars projected in the air.

This is called light pillars phenomenon caused by the reflection of light from tiny ice crystals  suspended in the air. According to Wikipedia, the vertical band of light appears to extend above or below a light source. In this case, the light came from the ground, the city lights.

Wikipedia explains further: "Unlike a light beam, a light pillar is not physically located above or below the light source. Its appearance of a vertical column is an optical illusion, resulting from the collective reflection off the ice crystals, only those of which that appear to lie in the vertical line direct the light rays toward the observer."

The night was cold, about -12 degrees Celsius, but I braved it to watch the development of this rare winter phenomenon and captured its gradual formation. My cold-bitten fingers tucked in my winter gloves went on turning the camera to different directions and insatiably clicking the shutter, while my equally frozen feet put up with the cuttingly painful sensation.

This otherworldly spectacle was worth all these discomforts though. It was amazing to watch the columns gradually grow and skyrocket while the colors intensified. And then without warning, the pillars spread out to surround the whole city like a thousand light-sabers encircling the whole place! (  It looked more like a Jedi invasion and not a UFO attack ...😊😊😊)  The show took my breath away! I stood there in our balcony, my head turning left to right and vice versa, utterly stunned by the ongoing show.

Amid this astonishing atmospheric event, the semi-active aurora borealis unpretentiously performed its own show even though the light pillars stole the entire scene. But the two events did a marvelous double performance in the same night, on and off  from past 11:00 p.m. onward for several hours.

The show was still in progress when I retired for the night.

And my dreams were filled with colorful light pillars that flitted intermittently over the horizon.

I stand in awe with praise and gratitude
"To the One doing great and unsearchable things,
Wonderful things without number."

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Frosts - Magnifying The Unseen

Something white blankets the ground,

something that coats the grass, bare trees and bushes,

something indefinable at a glance,

something really bone-chilling,

something crisp when trodden upon,

something ignored or taken for granted....


"From whose womb did the ice emerge,
And who gave birth to the frost of heaven?"
(Job 38:29)

Take a look once again.


Now with a magnifier or a camera zoom lens.

What do you see?

Geometrical, cylindrical patterns, amazing symmetry.

Just incredibly stunning!

That's the marvel of these tiny ice crystals!

It's a kind of universe I thrive in.

"He sends the snow like wool. He scatters the frosts like ashes. "
(Psalm 147:16)

"By the breath of God, the ice is produced."
(Job 37:10)

May the brilliantly cold beauty of the ice crystals warm your hearts.

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