Friday, 24 February 2012

First contact... or the start of World War III? Amateur cameraman captures stunning glowing cloud in the skies over Russia

By Daily Mail Reporter
24th February 2012

Not so long ago, an enormous fiery cloud in the skies above Russia could only mean one thing: The beginning of something very very bad indeed.
At the height of the Cold War, a vision like this would set off screams of terror and mass panic, rather than the soft gasps of wonder and awe-struck conversation that can be heard in the YouTube clip of this spectacular phenomenon.
But it's not the end of the world, nor is it the beginning of a fine friendship with alien neighbours.

Footage of the glowing circular formation - which hit YouTube yesterday - is one of the most stunning examples of a 'lenticular cloud'.
For obvious reasons, these rare cloud formations are also known as 'UFO clouds' - because of their spooky resemblance to the space ships we are all expecting to imminently arrive in the skies above us.
Sci-fi films as far back as Close Encounters Of The Third Kind (1977) - and more recently Independence Day (1996) - have depicted aliens camouflaging their craft in boiling cloud formations.

Captured just at the right moment, when the sun is directly striking the bottom of the cloud - and light is refracted through the top of the cloud - it gives an amazing two-tone effect.
Lenticular clouds are usually formed by moist air rising over a mountain or range of mountains, forming standing waves of clouds as the air descends again.
The clouds are usually formed perpendicular to the direction of the airflow, and are usually avoided by aircraft pilots because of the turbulence associated with them.
Bright colors (called Irisation) are sometimes seen along the edge of lenticular clouds. These clouds have also been known to form in cases where a mountain does not exist, but rather as the result of shear winds created by a front.