Tuktoyaktuk Light Pillars by Chris Kelly
Tuktoyaktuk Light Pillars (Chris Kelly)
Tuktoyaktuk Light Pillars by Chris Kelly

Light pollution is the enemy of astronomers, but on this occasion, its beautiful effects earned special recognition.

Photo of the Week for January 4, 2019

Light pollution is the scourge of backyard stargazers and astrophotographers. But sometimes, when conditions are right, artificial lights can create interesting and even beautiful effects.

The spectacular light pillars shown in this photo, captured last November from Tuktoyaktuk, Northwest Territories, are a fine example. Although these streaks of luminosity superficially resemble an auroral display, they’re very different. Pillars are caused by atmospheric ice crystal reflecting artificial light—the various tints arising from the different colour-temperatures of the illumination sources.

Tuktoyaktuk Light Pillars by Chris Kelly
Tuktoyaktuk Light Pillars (Chris Kelly)

Chris Kelly photographed the scene with a tripod-mounted Nikon D750 DSLR camera and 20mm f/1.8 Nikkor lens. The exposure was 6 seconds at ISO 400.

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