light from the setting Sun illuminates the cloud banks
hugging this snowy, rugged terrain.
Inspiring a moment of quiet contemplation,
the sunset scene
included a remarkable pillar of light that seemed to
connect the clouds in the sky with the mountains below.
Known as a
the luminous column was produced by
sunlight reflecting from flat,
six-sided ice crystals formed high
in the cold atmosphere and fluttering toward the ground.
Last Monday, astronomers watched
this Sun pillar slowly fade, as the
twilight deepened and clearing, dark skies
came to Mt. Jelm and the
Wyoming Infrared Observatory.