Eerie pillars of light ring the edges of this snowy little planet.
Of course the little planet is planet Earth, shown in a
The spherical panoramic image mosaic
maps a view from
Siilinjärvi in eastern Finland.
Flat ice crystals, like those more often found in
high, thin clouds, are
gently fluttering in very cold air near the surface.
The pillars of light
appear as their briefly horizontal facets
reflect upward directed
light from ground sources downward, toward the observer.
In fact, the fluttering crystals produce an
effect analogous to the shimmering columns of moonlight or
sunlight reflected by
surface waves across water.