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 Received : 11/20/08  Daniel LEVIN   

There were lengthy and extensive sightings of vertical light pillars in the Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA last night from around 7:30 to 8:30 p.m. local time....  read more 

 Received : 11/20/08  Anthony VELGUS   

I just wanted to report seeing some light pillars last night near White Haven, Pennsylvania at approximately 00:30 Zulu Time....  read more 

 Received : 11/21/08  Anthony VELGUS   

Thanks for the explanation, but now I have another question : does the light source necessarily have to be shining directly up to cause this....  read more 

 Received : 11/21/08  Daniel LEVIN   

Thanks for the reply and the additional confirmation that is was a light pillar event.....  read more 

 Received : 11/24/08  Daniel LEVIN   

I'm sure that the phenomenon happens more than it is observed here.....  read more 

 Received : 11/20/09  Anthony FAULKNER   

On the night of November 18th, 2009 I saw about 20 light pillars in the sky above Mihonoseki, Shimane, Japan. It was very strange, I originally thought it might be Aurora, but researching it proved otherwise. They lasted about 2 hours, unfortunately my camera wouldn't pick them up.

Sakaiminato, Japan

Our reply

An Internet search brought to light that there are no petrochemical works or gas wells in the prefecture of Shimane that may have caused these light pillars. A more likely possibility therefore is that the pillars were the reflections of bright lights attached to fishing boats (see Section 4 and in particular the black and white photo taken from Fukui showing a group of light pillars caused by a fleet of fishing boats).

We sent Mr. FAULKNER a map of the sighting location and asked him if it would be possible to indicate the direction in which the lights had appeared and give us an estimate of their elevation angle.

Mr. FAULKNER responded right away. Below is the Google Earth image which he returned to us followed by some explanatory notes:

Mihonoseki Japan

The red X is where I was, the green X is where my friend was and he saw them also. (approx 10 miles away from me) The yellow X's are about where I saw them, about 30 to 40 degree angle. The northern horizon was also pretty bright. In Japan the air gets hazy quite often, not quite cloudy that night but I couldn't see any stars to the north. I could see stars straight up and to the south though. The temperature on the ground was about 5 degrees C.

The black and white picture was almost exactly what I saw, I was thinking it was from fishing boats, since Sakaiminato harbour is the 8th largest fishing port in Japan (I think).

Although I didn't see any pillars close to the horizon, there is a small mountain in the way.

This additional data provided by Mr. FAULKNER pretty much confirms the idea of fishing boats using bright lights to lure squid into their nets.


 Received : 01/28/10  Fred ZUMPANO   

I live on the outskirts of Akron, Ohio. Tonight, Jan 28, 11 p.m., took my dog out. As I look on the horizon of this busy city, and look towards the city, vertical shafts of light are rising in the southerly sky......  read more 

 Received : 09/04/11  Andrew T. YOUNG   

This visitor response relates to Chapter 4 of our article on light pillars, and in particular to the part where we mention the observation of a "circular reflection" near the zenith produced by a combustion flame from an oil rig in the North Sea on October 20, 1993.  read more 

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