Mysterious beautiful Light pillars Appeared in Inner Mongolia on 12/30/2015

Mysterious beautiful Light pillars Appeared in Inner Mongolia on 12/30/2015
After a dry freezing and non-windy day at temperatures between -12C and -22C, colored light columns rose above Xilinhot City in north China's Inner Mongolia on Wednesday night. The surreal scene lasted for a few hours.
Some comments from Twitter-like Weibo:

'Did the photographer had a dirty lens?'

'Isn't this simply a lighting effect? But it looks so beautiful.' 

This effect is created by light reflected off numerous falling tiny ice crystals suspended in the atmosphere or clouds in cold weather. The light can come from the Sun (usually when it is near or even below the horizon) and causes the phenomenon called a sun pillar or solar pillar. It can also come from the Moon or from terrestrial sources such as streetlights. 
  • Light pillars, or sun pillars, form when sunlight - or another bright light source - bounces off the surfaces of falling ice crystals.
  • The ice crystals are usually associated with thin, high-level clouds and are falling through the atmosphere when the phenomenon occurs.
  • Light pillars are most often seen when the sun is low in the western sky before sunset, or low in the east just after the breaking of dawn.
  • The moon or streetlights can also create this light phenomenon.

Light pillar pictures at National Geographic
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