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Strange pillars of light appear in sky above Japan - and you'll never guess what's caused them

Strange pillars of light appear in sky above Japan - and you'll never guess what's caused them

It might be an alien invasion...

Picture the scene – it’s a calm, quiet evening, and you decide to head outside for a walk around your neighborhood to enjoy the fresh air.

But then you look up, and all of a sudden the sky is filled with terrifying pillars of light that look straight out of an alien invasion movie.

What do you do – run to hide, call the authorities, or prepare to make contact with UFOs?

This might sound like sci-fi fantasy, or a video game.

But in a small coastal town in Japan, this is exactly what’s happened.


On May 11, an account called Maashii posted on X a picture of the nine pillars of light hovering in the sky above the sea.

The lights could be spotted in the town of Daisen, in Tottori prefecture in western Japan.

Maashii, who works as a tourism promoter, told Japanese website Hint Pot that he’d only spotted the lights about three or four times since he moved to Daisen from Tokyo nine years ago.

In reply to Maashii, user totoro8201 posted a picture of the same lights from his perspective further along the coast.

In their photo, the same lights can be seen floating in the clouds, almost like giant fluorescent tubes.


The pictures prompted speculation over what the lights were, with comparisons made to aliens and the famous anime Neon Genesis Evangelion.

Meanwhile users on Reddit drew comparisons with the meteor spotted in Portugal and a weird pillar of light spotted in Vietnam, speculating that aliens were finally preparing for a visit.

But theories aside – what actually are these weird lights?

If you’d placed bets on Martians or some super-top secret military program, then prepare for disappointment I’m afraid.

The reason is actually much more surprising, in a way – at least, it’s not something I would have guessed any time soon.

The pillars of light are in fact all to do with fish and a strange optical illusion.


The weird effect even has a name - “Isaribi Kochu”, which literally means “fish-attracting light pillars” according to Japan Today.

Lights are placed on boats to attract larger catches and squid, which are drawn to the glow.

Naturally, the practice is only effective at night.

But night also means lower temperatures, which sometimes causes small ice crystals to form in the atmosphere above the sea.

If the conditions are just right, such that larger crystals can form without creating hail, then the lights of the fishing boats get reflected in the sky creating the weird effect seen in the photographs.

Featured Image Credit: @maashii_taiyo/X /vchal/Getty