Light Pillars, Finland ~ Images by Jari Luomanen (Atmospheric Optics, landscapes & more). Hexagonal plate crystals drifting in the subzero air reflect ground lights towards the eye. Their collective glints give the illusion of upward pillars of light.

All images ©Jari Luomanen, shown with permission
The pillars are divergent light halos. The crystals making them do not need to be tilted far from horizontal to generate the illusion of tall pillars.

In contrast, sun and moon pillars are parallel light halos and need crystals with large tilts.
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Plate shaped crystals are responsible. The ground lights reflect externally from a lower hexagonal face or internally from an upper one.

The crystals generating the 'pillar' are approximately mid way between the ground light and the eye.