Alba Evangelista Ramos, a Brazilian biologist, captured these rare images of a lenticular cloud from a moving vehicle on March 18, 2017, near the Observatory of Haute-Provence, situated in southeastern France. In this particular case, the “UFO cloud” seems to have been produced by the cold mistral wind that strongly blows over southern France, as it was pushed up the 2,132-foot-high (650-meter-high) plateau of the observatory.
Enjoy these photos of beautiful lenticular clouds taken in places around the world, and shared with us by EarthSky friends on Facebook and Google+.
These lens-shaped clouds typically form where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains. When this happens, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the mountain’s downwind side. If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air may condense to form lenticular clouds. As the moist air moves back down into the trough of the wave, the cloud may evaporate back into vapor. So lenticular can appear and disappear relatively quickly. Plus they’re not familiar to people who live in low-lying or flat terrain. And, just to confound things, lenticular clouds have also been known to form in non-mountainous places, as the result of shear winds created by a front. For all of these reasons, lenticular clouds are often mistaken for UFOs (or “visual cover” for UFOs). Enjoy the photos! Thank you to all who posted.
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Jan Whiteman shared this photo with us in March, 2016. She captured it at Lord Howe Island, a volcanic remnant in the Tasman Sea between Australia and New Zealand.
Shared with EarthSky in March, 2016 by Jay Lundstrom, who caught it near Mount Katahdin, the highest mountain in Maine.
Sarah Fischer shared her photo with us in March, 2016. She said, “I came out of my apartment building, and these were right above my head.”
Lenticular cloud over Roque del Conde, on the island of Tenerife. Submitted in June, 2015 by Roberto Porto.
“Lenticular cloud outside my window in Dublin Ireland this morning. I was surprised to see this as we don’t get them too often here,” said Anthony Lynch Photography in June, 2015.
View larger. | Lenticular cloud over Iceland on May 25, 2015 by Anne Greschuk.
Angela Mosley caught this lenticular cloud from Denver, Colorado in December, 2014.
Lenticular clouds by Richard T. Hasbrouck in Truchas, New Mexico, January, 2014.
David Marshall captured this lenticular cloud above the Alps in northern Italy.
John Lloyd Griffith in north Wales captured this lenticular cloud on December, 2013.
This photo comes from Michel Studinger of Operation IceBridge. It’s a lenticular cloud over Antarctica, November, 2013.
Radek Zek Photography caught this lenticular cloud in September, 2013.
Emilio Lepeley of Vicuna, Chile captured this lenticular cloud in August, 2013.
Jackie Phillips in Virginia caught this lenticular cloud in October, 2012.
Beautiful shot of lenticular cloud at sunset by Chris Walker in Dayton, Nevada, from spring 2008.
Bottom line: Photos and video of lenticular clouds in various parts of the world, from the EarthSky community. Click here to submit your photo.