The Pillar of Light

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A pillar of light is an atmospheric optical phenomenon that caused due to the interaction of light with numerous tiny ice crystals on atmosphere. Its appearance of a vertical column is also an optical illusion, resulting from the collective reflection of the ice crystals.

The crystals responsible for it usually consist of flat, hexagonal plates which tend to orient themselves more or less horizontally as they fall through the air.Their collective surfaces act as a giant mirror, which reflects the light source upwards and downwards into a virtual image. 

As the crystals are disturbed by air turbulence, the angle of their surfaces deviates some degrees from the horizontal orientation, causing the reflection to become lengthen into a column. The larger the crystals, the more large this effect becomes.

Source:- Wikipedia
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