I’m sure many of you remember this campy scifi film from 1956. Roswell on steroids.
But did you know that there is a natural phenomenon on Earth that gives rise to reports of flying saucers on a regular basis? In fact there’s a mountain near me where they congregate. Observe:
That’s Mount Shasta in northern California. It has a long history of flying saucer visitations. Why I’ve seen people channel this with piles of mashed potatoes and inverted dinner plates.
On a more serious and factual note, these are lenticular clouds, created by the standing wave that occurs as air flows over the mountain, cooling it below the dew point. The one above is from a Facebook share by Hope Devenuto Photo from Mt Shasta Ca. 10-5-11, from my freind Yoj
Lenticular clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) are stationary lens-shaped clouds that form at high altitudes, normally aligned perpendicular to the wind direction. Lenticular clouds can be separated into altocumulus standing lenticularis (ACSL), stratocumulus standing lenticular (SCSL), and cirrocumulus standing lenticular (CCSL). Due to their shape, they are often mistaken for Unidentified Flying Objects (UFOs).
Formation: Where stable moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains, a series of large-scale standing waves may form on the 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. Under certain conditions, long strings of lenticular clouds can form near the crest of each successive wave, creating a formation known as a ‘wave cloud.’ The wave systems cause large vertical air movements and so enough water vapor may condense to produce precipitation. The clouds have been mistaken for UFOs (or “visual cover” for UFOs) because these clouds have a characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer-like shape. 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.
Here’s one attacking the Keck observatory at Mauna Kea, Hawaii in 2002
I predict it will be only a matter of time before lenticular clouds are labeled “anti-science”.
While the web abounds with multitudes of UFO like lenticular cloud photos, thanks in part to digital cameras becoming almost ubiquitous in cell phones worldwide, we don’t seem to be getting any fresh credible pictures of real UFO’s …or bigfoot.
It seems that technology saturation is gradually disproving those notions.