Monday, January 16, 2012

Shaft Of Orange Light Seen In The Sky Over Edmonton Alberta (Case Solved – Light Pillar Ice Crystals)

Posted:  January 16, 2012

Vike Factor Note: Recently a number of sighting reports came from folks who reside in Edmonton, Alberta. People reported seeing a strange vertical bright orange beam of light in the sky over Edmonton Alberta.

I wasn’t sure what the people were/had seen so I started looking around the internet to see if there was a reasonable explanation for what was observed.

For me, two ideas came up, one thought was that people may have seen an “Aurora/Northern Lights” and the other possibly was a “Light Pillar”.

After researching a little more, I found that the “Light Pillar” was going to make more sense as to the cause for this sighting that took place on January 11, 2012 at approximately 11:00 p.m. and 11:30 p.m.

I therefore, wrote an email to the TELUS World of Science – Edmonton, Alberta and the Edmonton Sun newspaper. I was hoping one or both parties might be able to help in solving this mystery.

First thing Monday morning I received a nice response from Mr. Frank Florian B.Sc., B.Ed from the TELUS World of Science and he confirmed my thoughts on the light as being, a “Pillar of Light”

Below is Mr. Frank Florian’s reply to me:

Hi Brian, you are correct in your assumption that the effect of the vertical shaft of light was due to ice crystals.  We just had a cold front move into the Edmonton area bringing temperatures down to below -20 Celcius and many individuals saw various atmospheric effects from the ice crystals that formed in the air, everything from Sun pillars and Parry Arcs during the day to light pillars off street lights and other bright light sources in the evening. 

Here is an email I received from a fellow Royal Astronomical of Canada (RASC) Edmonton Centre member who took a photograph of a Sun pillar and Parry arc with a website that describes the phenomenon:

Vike Factor Note: Here is the website address, but I have not included the photo.

Member of the Royal Astronomical of Canada (RASC) comment: I took this at 4:06 January 15, 2012. Sun pillar capped with a Parry arc. More about Parry arcs here:

Also below, is another sighting report on the vertical light with photos and eye witness filmed.

Pillar Of Light Filmed Over Edmonton Alberta (Pictures)

Date:  January 11, 2012
Time:  Approx: 11:30 p.m.
Number of witnesses: 2
Number of Objects: 1

Full Description of Event/Sighting: Orange vertical light in sky, looked like the sky was opening up. It was really bright, almost pulsating. Too big to be a ship I think, but it was defiantly unexplainable at least to me.

I took two pictures, but they are really grainy as my camera is not made for night time.

The two pictures are © 2012 Steven Townsend.

Below are some website links that explain what causes this light effect:

Towering Shafts of Light

Scientists Left Baffled as Mysterious Columns of Colored Light Appear in the Night Sky. (Amazing Photos)

Also here is a link to YouTube where an eyewitness shot some video tape of the sighting over Edmonton, Alberta on January 11, 2012 the Pillar of Light.

Below are some of the other reports that were filed to me.

Edmonton Alberta - More Witnesses To Vertical Orange Beam Of Light

Peculiar Vertical Bright Orange Beam Of Light In The Sky Over Edmonton Alberta

Vertical Orange Beam Of Light Seen From Edmonton Alberta

Pillar Of Light Observed Over Edmonton Alberta

I would like to thank all of the people who sent in their sighting reports, and also my thanks to Mr. Frank Florian’s for his kind and very helpful email.

If you have seen anything like this in the same area please be kind enough to contact Brian Vike at: with the details of your sighting. All personal information is kept confidential.

The Vike Factor (Brian Vike) website: 


  1. Having witnessed these back December 2005.
    I ofetn wondered the origin these pillars of light.

    This sounds like a logical weather phenomenon

    They are amazing to see that go straight up in the night sky.

  2. This is very interesting. My family and I experienced this exact phenomenon tonight Jan 13, 2013 in Spokane, Washington. We were at a loss as to what the cause could be. We initially thought they were search lights or contrails from passing aircraft. But due to color and the straightness of the beams, the ice column explanation makes perfect sense.

  3. I am in Lafitte, Louisiana. I witnessed this light last night (February 13, 2013). Between 12:00am-1:00am. Thank you for giving a clear explanation with an abundance of information to support it. I LOVE LOOKING UP!

  4. looking at the light as i'm typing this. 8.40 p.m Papar, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

  5. saw this at 9pm - 10.15pm. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysian Borneo

  6. 9pm - 10.15pm. Kota Kinabalu, Sabah, Malaysia Borneo