“This is an optical phenomenon. Ice crystals in the air reflected light from the city, forming thin light pillars,” Terje Alsvik Walløe from the Norwegian Meteorological Institute (MET Norway) said.
Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB Scanpix
Light pillars form when there are very cold conditions and humid air. The vertical shafts of light extend from a bright light source, in this case Oslo’s city lights.
“It is not very common. The moisture forms a special kind of ice crystals that are suspended in the air. They have flat surfaces that allow the light to gather in this way,” Walløe said.
MET Norway said there were no reports of light pillars elsewhere in the country on Wednesday, but the phenomenon was also spotted in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.
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Upward-extending light pillars and downward-extending sun pillars are often thought to be behind false claims of UFO sightings.
Photo: Stian Lysberg Solum / NTB Scanpix