'Light beam' photo ©Thomas O'Brien, Aspen Colorado 1-3-09

‘Light beam’ photo by Thomas O’Brien

Light beam’ is my name for these amazing photographs. A second sun floats just above the tree tops beaming Light to earth. It looks like a being of light floating above and behind the trees. An amazing gift and wonderful display. Images taken in Aspen, Colorado January 3, 2009 by Thomas O’Brien.

Thomas says about the images,  'Alpine subsun' photo ©Thomas O'Brien 1-3-09

‘I had been seeing small sun reflections in the ground all day when riding the lifts last Sunday so i decided to hike around on the backside of the mountain to see if i could find a brighter one. it was incredibly hard to photograph, it was like i was shooting directly into 2 suns at once. getting a shot without lens flare was nearly impossible. I had seen much dimmer ones before but this one was incredible. ‘

Atmospheric Optics expert Les Cowley reports, “It is exactly like shooting into two suns at once because it is a subsun, a direct reflection of the sun by millions of ice crystals acting as mirrors. The crystals are flat plates drifting in the cold air. Subsuns can be blindingly bright, look for them while skiing or when flying.”

Photo was featured on SpaceWeather.com January 11, 2009.

~Bonnee Klein Gilligan

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