A Map of the City in the Sky

Elizabeth Borneman


Sometimes light shows are spectacular, intricately planned and orchestrated by experts around the world. Other times these light shows occur entirely naturally without any work whatsoever. Such a rare event happened in Finland in a small town called Eura, where a natural light event reflected a map of the city in the sky.

This isn’t the first Finnish light show to capture the attention of residents and new outlets around the world. Earlier last year the combination of winter weather and natural light created rainbow light columns in the sky, delighting residents and visitors alike.

A combination of ice crystals and the city lights created a map in the sky with definite boundary lines marking streets, intersections, and minor roads in the municipality. The mirror image of the city was transposed in the sky creating a fun visual for residents to enjoy on a cold evening.

Mia Heikkilä captured this phenomenon known as a light pillar:

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During the winter months the tilt of the northern hemisphere and the cooler climate leaves many ice crystals hanging in the air. These crystals reflect light which can be displayed in many ways. Some cities the crystals simply reflect light, and in other places more unique apparitions are seen in the night skies.

In Finland’s case the ice crystals commonly form ice columns, or beams of light that seem to rise up from the ground. Some Finnish residents attribute the unique light show to the sky-god Ukko protesting against the city’s urban planning.

Other, more scientifically minded individuals explain the phenomena as a product of ice crystals in the air creating light pillars. These light pillars usually look like just that- lights coming up from the ground in a line like a column. In Eura, though, photographs captured the light pillars forming a map of the city.


A City Map Spontaneously Appeared in the Sky Over Finland


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About the author
Elizabeth Borneman
My name is Elizabeth Borneman and I am a freelance writer, reader, and coffee drinker. I live on a small island in Alaska, which gives me plenty of time to fish, hike, kayak, and be inspired by nature. I enjoy writing about the natural world and find lots of ways to flex my creative muscles on the beach, in the forest, or down at the local coffee shop.