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Monday, January 5, 2009

WTF Are Lenticular Clouds?

Lenticular Clouds are often mistaken for UFOs

(click on any image to enlarge)

Lenticular clouds, technically known as altocumulus standing lenticularis, are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally aligned at right-angles to the wind direction.

In short: they look badass.

(images credit: Valuca)

(images credit: Valuca)

These clouds are formed by so-called "mountain waves" of air created by strong winds forced over high mountains. Then they hang over the mountains like alien "motherships"... Mount Rainier in Washington produces some of the most spectacular lenticulars.

Copyright (c)2002 Christopher J Picking

(image credit: Peter Michaud)

Mount Erebus, Antarctica (US Coast Guard photo)

(image credit: Doug Cruikshank)

(image credit: J. D. Rufo, J. Koermer)

Click here for more crazy Cloud Formations: [Gallery of Clouds]