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Venus & Lunar Pillars

Imaged by Morio Higashida (atmospheric optics site) at Osaka, Japan on 7th January '16.

Beneath the crescent moon is a small lower pillar.  Venus 2.7° away has tiny upper and lower pillars.

Images ©Morio Higashida, shown with permission

All light sources can generate pillars if suitable ice crystals are along the line of sight but those from stars are faint indeed. A challenge for photographers.

Most pillars are produced by reflection glints from the upper and lower hexagonal faces of wobbly plate-shaped ice crystals. More rarely, horizontal column crystals can make them.

The pillar is an illusion, there are no upward or downward beams of light.