UFO in Kilpisjärvi part 2 - light pillars and ice road runner

It was fun being in the snowy desert during day - but our misssion is to measure light at night. After dinner Franz and I hit the road...we earn confused looks from our lake physics friends..."You want to get out now? Not go to sauna after this busy and cold day?" - Aaargh thanks for the reminder ;)

When outside, we are amazed by the view above Kilpisjärvi village. The ice fog creates "light pillars" a phenomenon where flat ice crystals float in the lower atmosphere and create some sort of giant mirror reflecting only the light emitted directly upwards towards your observation point (see wikipedia here and nicer pictures on twitter). These pillars look bizarrely and the most spectacular thing is that every car approaching us is creating the same moving "light pillar"....pretty stunning.



During our hunt for darkness we measure night sky brightness values down to 21.5-21.6 mags (so near natural). Every now and then ice-fog or clouds appear and either light up the scene or make it slightly darker. During this night, we did not recognize big aurora activity.
All-sky image taken with fisheye lens

It is astonishing that because of the snow even the darkest spots don't feel very dark.

The spooky part of our business: the lonely van in the middle of nowhere parked and frozen in.....you dont want to image whats in there....

On the way we discover some significant looking skyglow:

Only to realize a bit down the road that it is 5 street lamps lighting up an intersection in the middle of nowhere....


After driving 130 km this night we are back at the station - but too late for sauna :/

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