Lovely Lenticular Clouds: 42 Incredible UFO Cloud Photos

May 22nd, 2014 Permalink

Some folks think lenticular clouds look like a stack of pancakes, but most people think they look like “saucer clouds.” These clouds are more dense, colder, than the surrounding air, so if the ambient weather doesn’t change then it just appears to hover without moving. It’s been said that these “lennies” are a possible explanation for some reported Unidentified Flying Object (UFO) sightings. If conditions are “just right,” lenticular clouds can form about anywhere. Yet this meteorological phenomenon most often appears over mountain peaks and extinct volcanoes. Even that has been dubbed “rare.” If you live in the “flat” lands, then it’s possible you’ve never witnessed an incredible UFO cloud. Photographers love to capture them, so thanks to their hard work, here are 42 fabulous photos of lovely lenticular clouds. [42 Photos]

Lenticular clouds hang steady over the sea ice in McMurdo Sound

Lenticular clouds hang steady over the sea ice in McMurdo Sound. But photographers don’t have to freeze in Antarctica to capture this dramatic meteorological phenomenon. Photo #1 by Deven Stross

UFO clouds over France

UFO clouds over France. “The clouds have been mistaken for UFOs (or ‘visual cover’ for UFOs), particularly the round ‘flying saucer’-type, because these clouds have a characteristic lens appearance and smooth saucer-like shape; also, because lenticular clouds generally do not form over low-lying or flat terrain, many people have never seen one and are not aware clouds with that shape can exist,” states Wikipedia. Photo #2 by Marc Veraart


Lenticular cloud over California

After capturing this multi-layered cloud over California, the photographer wrote, “Uh oh…I think I saw something like this in a Will Smith movie.” Many shots of “lennies” from many people were accompanied by UFO references. Photo #3 by sandy.redding

Lenticular clouds rising over Patagonia, Chile

Patagonia, Chile, has many marvelous wonders, like these magnificent marble caves, and it’s one of the places photographers hope to capture lenticular clouds rising over the mountains. The photographer noted, “And then the UFO clouds showed up, could not get enough of them.” Photo #4 by Marc Wisniak

UFO clouds above the Grossglockner

UFO clouds above the Grossglockner, which is the highest mountain of Austria and the highest mountain in the Alps east of the Brenner Pass. Photo #5 by Hermann Scheer

Mount Rainer and lenticular cloud

When altocumulus lenticularis form over mighty Mount Rainier, sometimes as a ‘hat,’ locals say you can expect rain in 24 hours or less. Photo #6 by Joel Davis-Aldridge

Lenticular cloud over the fields of the Queenstown Valley

Lenticular cloud over the fields of the Queenstown Valley in New Zealand. The photographer noted, “I have never seen them before I moved here, but this is my first time living in a mountainous environment.” Photo #7 by Trey Ratcliff

Wonders in the Antarctic Sea and Sky, lenticular cloud

Wonders in the Antarctic sky where “a multi-layered lenticular cloud hovers near Mount Discovery, a volcano about 70 kilometers (44 miles) southwest of McMurdo….The bulging sea ice in the foreground is a pressure ridge, which formed when separate ice floes collided and piled up on each other.” Photo #8 by Michael Studinger / NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

Mount Rainier pokes through the clouds

Mount Rainier pokes through the clouds. The photographer added, “Just like any other day, you can’t see it from the ground.” Mount Rainier National Park does have numerous webcams if you’d like to see the area live. Photo #9 by Travis S.

Lenticular cloud over the Sierra Nevada in Granada, Spain

Layers of pancakes form over the Sierra Nevada in Granada, Spain. Earth Observatory said, “Lenticular clouds are a type of wave cloud. They usually form when a layer of air near the surface encounters a topographic barrier, gets pushed upward, and flows over it as a series of atmospheric gravity waves. Lenticular clouds form at the crest of the waves, where the air is coolest and water vapor is most likely to condense into cloud droplets.” Photo #10 by Manuel M. Ramos

Lenticular clouds over Mexico

Clouds over Iztaccihuatl mountain, minutes before the last sunset of 2010. New Year Eve’s in Amecameca, Mexico. Iztaccihuatl is a 5,230 m (17,160 ft) dormant volcanic mountain, the third highest in Mexico. Cue the science fiction filming and the opening shot of an alien UFO movie. Photo #11 by Daniel Iván

Lenticular cloud amass around Mount Iwate, a stratovolcano in Japan

Lenticular Kind of Day. The photographer noted, “A huge group of lenticular cloud amass around Mount Iwate, a stratovolcano in Japan.” Photo #12 by jasohill

Lenticular clouds over Torres del Paine National Park

Lenticular cloud over Torres del Paine National Park in southern Chilean Patagonia. “The bigger the hill or mountain range the air travels across, the more spectacular the lenticular cloud,” BBC explained. Photo #13 by Klaus Balzano

Lenticular clouds, mountain, water, boat

Most pilots don’t want anything to do with flying a plane through lenticular clouds, but glider pilots actively seek them out for the massive lift upward to 12,000 m (up to 40,000 ft). Photo #14 by Christopher Michel

UFO clouds in France

Under “wave lift” and gliding, Wikipedia says, “The powerfully rising and sinking air in mountain waves was discovered by glider pilot, Wolf Hirth, in 1933. Gliders can sometimes climb in these waves to great altitudes, although pilots must use supplementary oxygen to avoid hypoxia. This lift is often marked by long, stationary lenticular (lens-shaped) clouds lying perpendicular to the wind. Mountain wave was used to set the current altitude record of 15,453 meters (50,699 ft) on 29 August 2006 over El Calafate, Argentina. The pilots, Steve Fossett and Einar Enevoldson, wore pressure suits. The current world distance record of 3,008 kilometers (1,869 mi) by Klaus Ohlmann (set on 21 January 2003) was also flown using mountain waves in South America.” Photo #15 by Marc Veraart

Lenticular clouds over the Alabama Hills at sunrise

Of this species cloud, the genus: stratocumulus, altocumulus, cirrocumulus. These lens-like clouds formed over the Alabama Hills at sunrise, Inyo County, California. Photo #16 by Ed Post

The Mother Ship over British Columbia, altocumulus standing lenticularis

Many photographers made amusing notations about these so-called UFO clouds, such as this: “The Mother Ship over British Columbia.” Photo #17 by tobym

Lenticular cloud over Baildon Moor, Yorkshire, on Winter Solstice

Lenticular cloud over Baildon Moor, Yorkshire, on Winter Solstice. Photo #18 by Peter Hughes

Skittles In The Sky, lenticular clouds over New Zealand

“Skittles In The Sky” is what the photographer called this colorful capture. “This was taken at a place called Bendemeer Estates, a 130 hectare residential development in Queenstown, New Zealand. The clouds shown in this shot are called ‘Lenticular’ and are very cool to see in person.” Photo #19 by Scott Kublin

Lenticular Cloud in Palm Springs

Meanwhile, in Palm Springs it appeared as if the aliens were about to start beaming people up from their houses. Photo #20 by cardiffjackie

Lenticular spectacular over Scotland

Lenticular spectacular over Loch Linnhe, Scotland. The following info was snipped from The Boar student publication: “Lenticular clouds continue to be confused with UFOs even to this day. For example, in September 2013 a strange cloud formation in Scotland caused a flurry of UFO-related posts on social media sites. The Met office released a statement saying the lenticular cloud in question was likely to have formed over the Cairngorms and drifted down wind to Aberdeen, where it was spotted. In 2009, scientists at Tel Aviv University claimed that another group of unusual weather events, known as sprites, were responsible for causing many mistaken UFO sightings during the past century. Sprites appear during thunderstorms, and can be described as lightning-like tendrils, being emitted from a dancing ball of light. But what makes them so spectacular is that they occur many miles above the storm clouds, far above where you would expect to see normal lightning flashes.” Photo #21 by widdowquinn

Lenticular cloud in the alps

The photographer noted, “This cloud stood there for hours and from time to time showed beautiful colors too. Location: Alps, Austria, Hohe Tauern, Virgental, Essener-Rostocker-Hütte, 2,208 meters” (7244 ft). Photo #22 by Rosebud23

Northern lights and lenticular clouds over Skaftafell National Park, Iceland

The photographer noted, “A night of northern lights and lenticular clouds over Skaftafell National Park, Iceland.” Photo #23 by Preserved Light Photography by Caillum Smith

UFO, or Lenticular, clouds

Perhaps the writer first came up with a mothership for Close Encounters Of The Third Kind after witnessing these UFO clouds first-hand? Photo #24 by Christopher Michel

Lenticular Clouds (Altocumulus lenticularis) and Sunrise, Leith Harbour, Stromness Bay, South Georgia

Sunrise at Leith Harbor, Stromness Bay, South Georgia Island in the South Atlantic. Did you know?…Stromness was a former Norwegian whaling station from which polar explorer Ernest Shackleton, in 1916, rescued 22 men who had been isolated there for four and a half months. Photo #25 by Butterfly austral

Afternoon lenticular clouds in Barcelona, Spain

Afternoon display over the “old harbor” Port Vell in Barcelona, Spain. The photographer added, “In the foreground of the always striking Maremagnum and whimsically avant-garde forms, but also with the profile of the Twin Towers and Building Natural Gas as background, mid-afternoon the storm cleared up and left this beautiful keepsake as a gift.” Photo #26 by Miquel González Page

Lenticular Cloud over Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower, Lord Howe Island, Australia

Lenticular Cloud over Mt Lidgbird and Mt Gower, Lord Howe Island, Australia. The forested hills rise to the highest point on the island, Mount Gower (875 m or 2,871 ft). Photo #27 by Andrew Purdam

Torres del Paine National Park, lenticular clouds in Patagonia

Torres del Paine National Park, one of the largest and most visited parks in Chile, has about 150,000 visitors a year. About 60% are foreign tourists who experience lenticular clouds for the first time in real life. Photo #28 by Liam Quinn

Mount Rainier wrapped in lenticular cloud

Mount Rainier wrapped in lenticular cloud. “Rainier is so large it is capable of creating its own weather.” KomoNews added, “While to us it might look like the clouds are floating in place, in fact, the air is streaming through the cloud as it hovers there — the cloud is just showcasing the right spot in the atmosphere where the air is undergoing its lift and sink. Sometimes this occurs right over the summit, giving the mountain a hat. Other times, it’s just downstream. To get the ‘stack of pancakes’ look, you have this effect happening at multiple layers.” Photo #29 by NPS

Mt Adams with lenticular cloud hat towering over Tatoosh range

Mount Adams with lennie cloud towering over the Tatoosh Range. Mount Adams is a “potentially active stratovolcano in the Cascade Range. It is the second-highest mountain in the U.S. state of Washington, trailing only Mount Rainier.” Photo #30 by sameerhalai

Lenticular Cloud over Cagliari

Lenticular Cloud over Cagliari, Italy. “An ancient city with a long history, Cagliari has seen the rule of several civilizations.” Photo #31 by fdecomite

lenticular clouds over salt flat in the Atacama Desert in Chile

Lennies over the stunning salt flat of the Atacama Desert in Chile. Photo #32 by Luca Galuzzi

Lenticular clouds and Mount Hotaka from Mount Otensho Japan

Lenticular clouds and Mount Hotaka from Mount Otensho, Japan. Hotaka rises to a height of 3,190 m (10,466 ft). Photo #33 by Alpsdake

Lenticular Clouds over the San Juan Mountains, Colorado

Clouds over San Juan Mountains, Colorado. NOAA reported, “When aircraft encounter a mountain wave, severe turbulence is often the result. The most telling clue that a mountain wave exists is the presence of ACSL (Altocumulus Standing Lenticular) clouds. But when the air is too dry to support cloud development, pilots and others may be unaware that a mountain wave and potentially severe turbulence exists. So while visually striking and appealing to photographers, ACSL may not be a welcome sight to those in the aviation community. Additionally, strong and gusty surface winds may be encountered particularly in the lee of the mountain barrier.” Photo #34 by ChuckCars

The magic of clouds

The magic of clouds. UFO clouds because our brains enjoy using our imagination. In “Isn’t that a…?” NPR reported, “There’s a corner of our brain, the ventral fusiform cortex, where neurons flash information at higher than normal speeds, and where the triggers aren’t always precise. We once used these neurons when we were in danger. Now we can use them to play. These neurons survived because if the “face” you saw wasn’t really a face but just shadows on the grass, you didn’t die, your brain wasn’t punished for seeing something that wasn’t there. But if there WAS a face, and you didn’t see it on time? Then you could be lion food, or have an ax in your head. Your genes didn’t make it past that point.” Photo #35 by Christopher Michel

Weird, unstable (lenticular) cloud formations were seen all over (Japan)

“Weird, unstable cloud formations were seen all over,” according to the photographer in Hachimantai, Japan. Photo #36 by jasohill

Altocumulus lenticularis above King George Island

Looks like two UFOs hovering over Henryk Arctowski Polish Antarctic Station; it is a research station on King George Island, off the coast of Antarctica. Wasn’t Antarctica a big part of the film X-Files? Photo #37 by Acaro

Hot pink lenticular cloud sunset over Antarctica

Hot pink lenticular cloud sunset over the Royal Society Mountains, McMurdo Station in Antarctica. Hold on for a wild ride according to the “other side” who still believe these clouds are disguising alien ships. “It has been widely indicated that UFOs have been able to disguise themselves by making themselves appear as clouds. For instance, when one sees a single cloud in the sky where there are no others, one can assume it is more than likely a UFO.” Photo #38 by sandwich

Mt. Rainier at sunset with a lenticular cloud

Mt. Rainier at sunset. Wikipedia states, “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.” Photo #39 by Troy Mason

Pink Invasion, lenticular clouds at sunrise as viewed by Peter's Lookout, Mt Cook Rd, New Zealand

Pink Invasion at sunrise as viewed by Peter’s Lookout, Mt Cook Rd, New Zealand. Photo #40 by Chris Gin

Orange sunrise and UFO clouds over Sierra Nevada

Orange sunrise and UFO clouds over Sierra Nevada. Photo #41 by Juan Tello

Lenticular Cloud Rings Altocumulus Lenticularis

Isn’t it amazing what all there is to see in the world? Have you ever seen the rings of a lenticular cloud in person? If you don’t live near the mountains then probably not, but it’s undeniably beautiful. Photo #42 by jodylehigh

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