PHOTO: UFO? Rare Weather Phenomenon Over Australia

Redditor big_mac_heart_attack spotted a rare weather phenomenon over eastern Victoria, Australia. He shared the picture on Reddit, and it quickly shot up to the front page of the news site.

Fallstreak holes, or hole punch clouds, are often reported as UFOs. They are also known as punch hole clouds, skypunches, canal clouds or cloud holes. According to The Weather Network, fallstreak holes are:

…usually caused by the introduction of tiny ice crystals directly into the cloud layer. This can happen when an aircraft punches through the cloud layer, and crystals form in the wake of its wings, or on the tips of its wings or propeller blades.

As soon as they show up amid all those supercooled water droplets, these ice crystals are suddenly ‘mobbed’ as the water droplets rush in to freeze and help form larger ice crystals. This forms the streaks in the air, and since lots of water droplets go into producing just one larger ice crystal, this whole process sucks up a lot of the surrounding droplets, tearing a hole in the cloud.

As for the rainbow hues seen spread through part of this particular fallstreak hole … well, that’s caused by sunlight being refracted as it passes through the very ice crystals causing the hole to form. It’s similar to a parhelion – more commonly known as a sun dog.

Very cool.

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