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I love to look up! You never know what you’ll see. After sunset you might spot interesting asterisms, a low hanging planet or two, or even the International Space Station. During the day, you might find a ring around the sun, sundogs, or maybe even a UFO! Ok, maybe not, but yesterday, during the latter part of the afternoon, many Cape Bretoners were treated to a fairly unusual cloud type that looks an awful lot like a UFO!
The proper name for this beauty is Altocumulus lenticularis or lenticular cloud. The cloud is a stationary lens-shaped cloud that forms at high altitudes, normally in perpendicular alignment to the wind direction. It forms where stable, moist air flows over a mountain or a range of mountains. In some cases, it doesn’t take a very significant elevation.
If the temperature at the crest of the wave drops to the dew point, moisture in the air can condense to form a lenticular cloud. These lenticular clouds form a cap above the hill indicating a layer of near saturated air aloft.
Lenticular clouds are different from other clouds because they don’t move; they are continually reformed over the same location by new air rising up and over a mountain, condensing and producing the clouds.
Because of their saucer-like shape, they are often mistaken for Unidentified Flying Objects or UFOs.