Those vertical beams of light you saw at sunrise have a name: Sun pillars

What is a sun pillar?

Many people captured magnificent photos of the sunrise Tuesday morning.

This sunrise was not typical, though, as tall beams of light extended vertically into the sky above the sun, Storm Center 7 Chief Meteorologist McCall Vrydaghs said.

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These beams of light are called sun pillars, or light pillars, and are a phenomena that occurs when sunlight, or another bright light source, reflects off the surface of millions of falling ice crystals within the clouds.

As these ice crystals slowly fall, they rock back and forth, allowing an optical illusion to form.

Sun pillars is the name given to beams of light created by the sun, while light pillars are attributed to everything else.

The best time to see sun pillars tends to be when the sun is lower in the horizon — before sunrise or close to sunset, Vrydaghs said.

Light pillars can be seen any time of night as street lamps or the moon may act as a light source.