Sun pillars spotted across the UK as hottest weekend of the year approaches

Nicola Harley
A light pillar is formed by the rising sun over, Corfe Castle, Dorset. - Daniel Sands / SWNS.com

Sun pillars were spotted across the UK on Thursday as the country prepares to be warmer than Greece with the hottest weekend of the year approaching.

The beautiful rare phenomenons were dotted across the countryside as the sun rose on Thursday.

A jogger on Seaton Carew beach in County Durham at sunrise. Credit: Alamy Live News

Sun pillars occur during sunrise or sunset when sun pillars form by sunlight reflecting off the surface of ice crystals in thin, high-level clouds.

The vertical shafts of light usually last up to an hour.

Described as a comet by some on Thursday, the spectacles could be seen from Durham to Dorset and across to Bristol.

The sun rises over the Wiltshire hillside town of Malmesbury in Wiltshire.  Credit: Alamy Live News

Bristol's police helicopter crew spotted the site as they approached Filton airfield at sunrise and tweeted: "Odd sunrise this morning, like a comet dropping out of the sky."

For those who missed it, the Met forecasters say sun pillars are impossible to predict and despite the warmest day of the year approaching there is no way of knowing if the phenomena will be repeated.

"We cannot forecast optical phenomena," a spokesperson said.

"Sun pillars look very pretty if you are lucky enough to spot one. They are formed by the light reflecting of the ice crystals in high wispy clouds. The formation has to be just right for it to take place and we cannot predict it."

Olivia Eves,16,picking tulips in Britain's last remaining bulbfield near King's Lynn in Norfolk. Credit: Geoff Robinson

Thousands are expected to flock to the coast this weekend as Sunday is predicted to be the hottest day of the year with temperatures reaching 23C in the south and 16C in the north.

The temperatures are 10C higher than average for April.

Met forecaster Nicky Maxey said: "We could see temperatures peak on Sunday and in the South East we could see the warmest day of the year at 23C. People need to apply plenty of suncream.

"Saturday will be cooler at 17C with temperatures rising.

"Next week the temperatures will be back down to normal in the mid to high teens in the South East and up to 11C in the north."

By using Yahoo you agree that Yahoo and partners may use Cookies for personalisation and other purposes