BOULDER, Colo. (CBS4) – A Boulder photographer believes he captured a rare phenomenon on Monday evening when he was inspecting the burn area of the CalWood Fire. The display of light is known as light pillars or ice pillars.

“At first we thought it was just a glint of light in our periphery. We noticed this hovering light source wasn’t moving at all. It was just this constant ray of light floating in space,” said Willie Cunningham.

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(credit: Willie Cunningham)

He posted pictures to Instagram and has seen it spread quickly online.

Cunningham admits he didn’t know what he was looking at. The photo shows ice crystals refracting light. He thinks it was a light pillar, like what was seen last February in Denver.

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“Apparently it needs to be very calm and frigid,“ Cunningham said. “It was dead still, no wind, and the sun was setting. It was pretty low. That was the only reasonable explanation I could find on the internet.”

He’s hoping, whatever the weather phenomenon was, that people continue to enjoy its beauty.

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“I’m just happy people are enjoying it to be honest.” Cunningham said.

Jeff Todd