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Blue Snow

7 Mar 2016, 07:01 UTC
Blue Snow
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This photo was sent to me by my cousin Bob Tupper. He lives in northern Wisconsin near the town of Minocqua, around latitude 46° (closer to the pole than the equator, as Minocquans proudly proclaim). It shows the view to the west across snow-covered Pine Lake shortly after sunset. The air temperature is well below freezing. The photo is reproduced here with Bob’s gracious permission. Click on it to see a larger version in a new tab.
He originally asked about the vertical streak of light visible near the center, just above the now-set Sun. I answered that it was a typical Sun Pillar and referred him to this post from 2007 which explains the phenomenon.
Bob also sent me a Google Earth view of the Pine Lake area, carefully diagramming how the photo was taken. North is at the top. You can see that he “located” the Sun Pillar just beyond the tree-covered peninsula, about a kilometer (3300 ft) from his camera. Click on the thumbnail below to see that map.

You can certainly measure the direction to a Sun Pillar, in this case azimuth ≈ 240°. But its “location” with respect to the landscape depends on where ...

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