In pictures: Extraordinary light pillars cast colorful columns in the sky over Wisconsin

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Looks as if Mother Nature is in the holiday spirit! The atmosphere decided to put up lights of its own Sunday evening in Beloit, Wisconsin, where colorful columns of light shone in the night sky.

Tom Purdy snapped this shot of the luminous pylons a little before midnight Sunday:

Amazing light pillars appear over Beloit, Wisconsin. By Tom Purdy

These “light pillars” are particularly rare. Purdy reports that the apparitions were accompanied by an equally curious phenomenon: freezing fog.

These more ghostly pillars of light were also photographed by on the same night in Beloit:

Ghostly or alien lights over the city of Beloit in Wisconsin. Picture by 

The formation of light pillars requires hexagonally shaped ice crystals in the air to reflect the light. Moreover, they have to be oriented horizontally, like flying discs or plates to bounce light back toward the observer. Less-organized orientations can produce sun pillars and halos.

Here’s one more view of Sunday night’s stunning pillars in Beloit:

WOW! Rare ice pillars formed in Beloit tonight. This happens when hexagonal ice crystals reflect the light and appear as columns reaching to the sky. Picture by Jana Ahles via Twitter

Pillars of light ok! But these are freaking me out!

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