Mother Nature puts on shows in skies over Seattle

Light Pillars over Anacortes (Photo: Eddie Murdock Photography)

SEATTLE -- It's been an interesting start to 2019 for sky and cloud gazers, with some neat atmospheric phenomenon putting on a show or two across the Puget Sound region.

The theme was mostly cloud formations back when the year started, but now we've shifted to some other light tricks.

First up was this gorgeous display of light pillars spotted along the Guemes Channel Trail over Anacortes by Eddie Murdock.

The lights are caused by tiny ice crystals in the sky refracting lights on the ground like zillions of tiny prisms.

"They were almost impossible to see with the naked eye, but these 20 second exposures brought them out," he wrote.

Light pillars were also spotted on New Year's Eve, as seen on this video from SkunkBayWeather.com

How about some handy shadow work? It's a fairly common (but still quite beautiful) occurrence in the late fall and winter time here when the sun rises behind Mt. Rainier and casts a shadow on the cloud layer above, like this photo from Lindsay Johnson:

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But even smaller items can cause sunrise shadows. Look at this photo from Twitter user West Seattle Weather (@WestSeaWx)

That's a shadow being cast by a jet contrail!

Speaking of images being cast -- Meg McDonald with Wild Northwest Beauty Photography got this incredible drone photo of fog hanging over Puget Sound, only to spot an air glory on the ground.

See the rainbow spot? That's caused by sunlight being refracted around the edges of the drone. Read more about glories from the awesome Atmospheric Optics site.

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