Upper & Low Sun Pillars Imaged by Tom Hubay.    ©Tom Hubay, shown with permission

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Plate-like ice crystals drifting in the clouds created the pillars.

Although conventionally pictured, like here, as regular hexagons, the crystals are likely to be large, irregular and imperfect, even approaching smaller snowflakes in habit.

The crystals wobble from the horizontal and reflections from their large faces produce glints of light. The collective glints from millions of crystals are visible as a pillar like glow. Pillars take on the hues of the sunlight or artificial light creating them. Ones seen shortly after sunset are deeply reddened.