LAS VEGAS (KLAS) — ‘Twas two nights before Christmas and up and down the Strip, people looked up and thought they saw a spaceship. Spoiler alert — it was probably just a weather phenomenon, but a rare weather phenomenon that is not normally seen in the Las Vegas valley.
Workers at the Saphire Gentleman’s Club on Sammy Davis Jr. Drive published the first videos early on the morning of Friday, Dec. 23. From the parking lot, several bright lights could be seen dancing in the clouds.
Around the stationary lights were four spotlights used by the club as a promotion, but just hanging in the clouds was what appeared to be at least four white lights and three red lights.
Immediately you can hear the people recording the strange event speculate it was a UFO hovering above the club, and they were not alone. 8 News Now also heard from a worker at a nearby marijuana-growing business who also saw the lights. Both told 8 News Now the lights stayed in place for more than an hour.
This night the weather was relatively cool and there were low clouds — this led to speculation it was just reflections from the lights along the Las Vegas Strip. It turns out that is probably correct, but not completely correct since this had not been seen before by people in this area.
8 News Now talked with a meteorologist at the National Weather Service in Las Vegas and were told that since the lights in clouds did not appear to move, and the temperature in the clouds was cold enough, there’s a good chance what people saw this night was the phenomenon called “light pillars.”
According to one National Weather Service web page, light pillars are described as the following:
Long pillars of multicolored light streaking the sky seem like the perfect backdrop for impending alien invasion, but in reality, light pillars are a common effect that can be found all over the world.National Weather Service
They do come from above — not extraterrestrials, but tiny crystals of ice hanging in the atmosphere. Ice is very thin, shaped like plates with hexagonal faces. When ice drifts down through the air, it falls close to horizontally. At the top and bottom are the faces with more area. Ice is very reflective, so when light hits those wider faces, it bounces around and reflects off more ice crystals.
That means we get these vertically stacked mirrors floating in the atmosphere. The light hitting it gets reflected up and up (or down and down, depending on the source), and becomes a radiant column in the sky.
Light can come from the sun, moon, cities, street lights — any strong light source.
Other people online have even matched up the lights to some of the large hotel casinos along the strip. The red lights could be from Resorts world, and the other white lights from the Wynn, Encore, Strat, and Palace Station.