When a northern Ontario man recently woke to his two-year-old crying, he wasn’t expecting to witness a new natural phenomenon.
Last week, Timothy Joseph Elzinga got out of bed at around 1:30 a.m. to soothe his crying child. As he calmed his son, he glanced out the bedroom window and saw what he later described as “dancing lights in the sky.”
But a quick look out the window wasn’t enough for the North Bay-resident, who decided he needed to see more.
“I got some pants on and ran outside and took some photos,” he told CBC News. Although Elzinga wasn’t sure what he was seeing at the time, the phenomenon has since been identified as light pillars.
Light pillars are the result of light reflecting off the facets of ice crystals floating through the atmosphere relatively close to the ground. They’re a bit like sun dogs, another natural phenomenon that often occurs on cold winter days and forms patches of light that appear on either side of the sun.
According to National Geographic, light pillars can appear as the result of natural light sources, like the sun or moon, or artificial sources, like street and porch lights.
Elzinga told reporters that the pillars were even brighter in person. So bright, in fact, that they almost seemed supernatural.
“It looked like someone from Star Trek was trying to beam people up.”