Aliens have been a popular topic of discussion since the 1940s and ’50s when reports of “flying saucers” began sprouting up from every corner of the United States.
In the decades since, our fascination with Martian civilizations and UFOs has only grown. And with the advent of social media, believers are no longer forced to approach seedy publications to share their discoveries, they can simply post them online for the world to see.
Because of this, pictures and videos of seemingly supernatural sightings are a regular occurrence for those of us “online” enough to catch them. But while some of these reports are quite convincing, they almost always have a terrestrial explanation.
That doesn’t mean, however, that the sightings are any less fascinating. Quite the opposite, at least in my personal opinion. Evidence of aliens would be exciting (and, let’s face it, a little terrifying), it’s true. But the fact that Earth is capable of producing awe-inspiring phenomena all on its own will never not be amazing.
Among the most recent of these alien encounters came from Jeju, an island off the southern coast of South Korea. A Reddit user shared a picture of the unusual sight, explaining that they had been watching “strange lights” floating through the sky for over an hour.
Meteorologist Reveals the Truth of Alien Sighting
The original poster’s fellow Redditors flooded the comments with jokes and explanations involving aliens, souls, and angels. The truth, however, was sprinkled in every now and then: a phenomenon known as “light pillars.”
In an interview with Newsweek, Colorado meteorologist Alex O’Brien confirmed the savvy social media users’ explanations. “Light pillars are optical atmospheric phenomena where pillars of light appear to beam up from the ground into the sky,” O’Brien explained.
Occurring when tiny crystals of ice form in the sky and remain suspended in the atmosphere, light pillars are exceedingly rare.
“The suspended ice crystals are great reflectors, beaming city lights back down to your eyes or camera lens,” O’Brien said. “Usually, these are plate-shaped ice crystals, which form at temperatures of 14 to -40 Fahrenheit.”
“The ideal conditions for this to occur are on a frigid winter night – often subzero temperatures,” he continued. “With high humidity and little to no wind.”
Not only does the weather have to be bone-chillingly cold but the light pillars have to reflect off of bright city lights just right in order to be visible. “From personal experience living in Colorado, you may see [light pillars] once or twice a winter,” O’Brien said.
“The more frigid nights a region sees, the better chance for light pillars throughout the winter. They will remain visible all night as long as weather conditions remain the same.”