That Viral Photo of a Christian Cross Sunrise Isn’t Supernatural… It’s Science!

Sorry, people, but that viral photo of what looks like an illuminated cross on the horizon isn’t a sign from Jesus.

Like most things attributed to the supernatural, it can be explained using science.

Mechaele Loraff of Buchanan, Michigan took the photo of the sunrise Wednesday morning and posted it to her Facebook page with the caption:

I had to pull over this morning on my way to work to take this picture of an amazing sunrise! I took the picture because of the beam coming straight up off the sun and only saw the cross after I took the picture! This was taken in Buchanan.


It is quite a lovely and intriguing phenomenon. But is that really a sign of Jesus?

Of course not. It’s a natural phenomenon called a “sun pillar.”

As explained on the University of Illinois’ website:

A sun pillar is a vertical shaft of light extending upward or downward from the sun. Typically seen during sunrise or sunset, sun pillars form when sunlight reflects off the surfaces of falling ice crystals associated with thin, high-level clouds (like cirrostratus clouds).

While Loraff didn’t necessarily say it was a sign from God, it didn’t take long before the God-praisers of Facebook ran with the image, taking it to viral status. Loraff has since changed the privacy settings on her social media to hide the post, but not before several news stations had already reposted it.

Sorry, Jesus folks. You were punked by science again.

About Tracey Moody

An atheist dropped in the heart of the Christian publishing world - Nashville, Tennessee. I'm trying my best to keep a good attitude and friendly disposition while being surrounded by people with imaginary friends.