by Annie Churdar in New Photography on Monday 26 August 2013

The mystery of the dancing light in Afghan skies remains unsolved. First noticed to form around helicopter blades when the atmosphere was particularly dusty, the lights are most likely formed by some sort of friction between the helicopter blades and the minerals in the dust.

War photographer Michael Yon captured a series of photos while a helicopter landed that seem to illustrate this theory. It’s very convincing.

But here’s the catch: the halos of light don’t always form in the dusty air. The phenomenon is unpredictable. And that mystery only contributes to the other-worldly beauty.