Patricia Evans captured this hole-punch cloud on yesterday (November 21, 2015). She wrote:
I spotted this rare hole-punch cloud this afternoon from the parking lot of a restaurant in Chelmsford, Massachusetts. Since I always carry my camera with me, I was able to take this shot! This is only the second punch hole cloud I’ve ever seen. The first one was just a few miles away from this spot five years ago… in 2010!
Canon SX50HS – ISO 80 f/4.5 1/1000 sec.
Thank you, Patricia!
By the way, these strange-looking clouds are caused by a sky containing small water droplets that are below freezing called supercooled water droplets.
If ice crystals can form in a layer of supercooled droplets, they’ll grow rapidly and shrink or possibly evaporate the droplets completely. Studies have shown that aircraft passing through these cloud layers can trigger the formation of the heavier ice crystals, which fall to Earth and then leave the circular void in the blanket of clouds.
Deborah Byrd created the EarthSky radio series in 1991 and EarthSky.org in 1994. Today, she serves as Editor-in-Chief of this website. She has won a galaxy of awards from the broadcasting and science communities, including having an asteroid named 3505 Byrd in her honor. A science communicator and educator since 1976, Byrd believes in science as a force for good in the world and a vital tool for the 21st century. "Being an EarthSky editor is like hosting a big global party for cool nature-lovers," she says.