Monday, 4 November 2013

[PF:172801] Lenticular Clouds

Evidence of an alien invasion? No - the rare phenomenon of eerily beautiful lenticular clouds captured by a Russian photographer

·         Russian photographer Denis Budkov, 33, captured formations the over the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia

·         The rare phenomenon occurs when strong winds are blocked by large geographical features such as mountains

·         The clouds are often mistaken for flying saucers or cover for UFOS because of their unusual shape


PUBLISHED: 09:57 GMT, 7 June 2013 | UPDATED: 17:04 GMT, 7 June 2013


Hovering high above the mountains these unusual, saucer-like white masses resemble a creature or vehicle from another world - but they are in fact clouds.

The natural phenomenon, known as a lenticular clouds, tend to form at high altitudes, such as above mountains.

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Russian photographer Denis Bukhov captured the rare phenomenon of lenticular clouds over the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia. Resembling flying saucers, they form when the air temperature drops and moisture droplets are pushed up a steep slope by high winds

The lens-shaped formations are scientifically known as 'altocumulus lenticularis' and are the result of moist air that has condensed at a high altitude.

They are formed when the air temperature drops and moisture droplets are pushed up a steep slope by high winds.



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This unique atmospheric condition creates the interesting lens-shaped form that defines a lenticular cloud. 

Mountains act as natural barriers forcing clouds to condense quickly as they are pushed to cooler altitudes. This is why a large or particularly tall mountain range will experience a moist climate on one side but an arid one on the other.


Denis said that it is possible to walk to the top of a volcano, find the Pacific Ocean by following the mountain rivers and see the first sunrise over all of Russia

The lenticular cloud pattern depends upon wind speed and the shape of the mountains. A constant wind may produce clouds which are stable and remain virtually stationary, as if hovering, in the sky for hours




Lenticular clouds form when a tall geographic feature, such as the the top of a mountain, interrupts a strong upward-flowing wind.

The blocked airflow creates a 'wind wave' pattern in the atmosphere on the downwind side of the mountain. 

Just as a rock in a stream will form ripples downstream, a similar effect occurs in the air – with the clouds forming at the peaks of the waves.

The impressive series of pictures taken by photographer, Denis Budkov, 33, show formations over Klyuchevskaya Sopka, the highest mountain of the Kamchatka Peninsula in Russia.







As a keen photographer, Denis said he loved nothing more than to capture the natural beauty of his home land of Kamchatka. He said: 'These clouds are very special as they do not move, they stay in one place and it's only their shape that changes'

Just as a rock in a stream will form ripples downstream, a similar effect occurs in the air with the lenticular clouds forming at the peaks of the air 'waves'

Sometimes a phenomenon known as irisation occurs along the edge of lenticular clouds, which causes them to glow an eery red. This adds to the disturbing atmosphere evoked by the oddly shaped clouds








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