Stunning photo shows the world’s rarest clouds glowing like cobwebs over the US – and they ‘formed in an unlikely way’

A stunning image has revealed rare clouds in US skies this week as experts ponder what might have prompted them to appear so late in the year.

The clouds were spotted last week hovering over the San Francisco Bay Area, delighting local residents and photographers who were quick to snap photos and share them on social media.

Photos of the rare clouds were shared by Rain Hayes, prompting some experts to explain the phenomenon

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Photos of the rare clouds were shared by Rain Hayes, prompting some experts to explain the phenomenonCredit: Rain Hayes

“Strange bright cloud over Lake Merritt this morning at the end of astronomical twilight.” wrote Photographer Rain Hayes sharing the photo on Twitter.

She also shared the photos on her website.

Scientists were quick to join the discussion, sharing their excitement and providing some explanations for the stunning sight.

Other users shared different angles and even a time-lapse video showing the slow movement of the clouds.

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“Great capture of what appears to be a noctilucent cloud over the SF Bay Area this morning!” wrote Climate scientist Daniel Swain in a tweet.

“Such clouds are very rare at this latitude and even in winter, and are the highest and driest clouds on Earth, forming in the mesosphere about 50 miles.”

Swain also took a minute to talk about the photo and how unique it is.

“It’s quite a unique shot given the very rare coincidence of location, seasonal timing, and other unique conditions (let alone those visible from Oakland). Congratulations!” he wrote.

Noctilucent clouds form when water droplets crystallize around dust particles.

This process forms clouds composed of ice that reflect the sun’s light, resulting in stunning and rare sights.

While standard clouds are 10 miles above the ground, noctilucent clouds can be as high as 50 miles.

These clouds are traditionally formed in the months of May through August in the Northern Hemisphere and November through February in the Southern Hemisphere.

SFGate spoke to Matt Mehle, a weather forecaster who theorizes that the appearance of the clouds may have been triggered by SpaceX’s Falcon 9 launch.

“That would make sense as to why we might be seeing them around here, because when they’re naturally occurring it’s usually around the Seattle and Oregon area and not Northern California,” he said.

Other researchers theorize that noctilucent clouds could occur more frequently due to lower temperatures and higher concentrations of methane in the atmosphere.

https://www.the-sun.com/news/6949432/stunning-photos-rarest-clouds-glow-unlikely-way/ Stunning photo shows the world’s rarest clouds glowing like cobwebs over the US – and they ‘formed in an unlikely way’

DevanCole

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