Unusual and Beautiful Rainbow Cloud Portal Appears in the Sky

Image: big_mac_heart_attack

The beautiful phenomenon pictured above, was captured floating high above Eastern Victoria, Australia. It almost appears to be a portal to another dimension, complete with a rainbow beckoning to the other side, but there is a scientific explanation for these bewitching cloudy formations known as fallstreak holes. It begins with a process known as supercooling.

Image: M Lanty

Supercooling is when the temperature of a liquid is lowered below freezing without it becoming a solid. In this state, the particles will crystallize if even a single “seed crystal” is available to activate the process. The Bergeron Process is when a mixed phase cloud, containing supercooled liquid and ice, undergoes rapid crystal growth in the centre while the water around quickly evaporates—this is what gives you that hole-punched-out-in-the-middle-of-the-sky effect.

Image: Dollsworth

Fallstreak holes are initiated by a drop in atmospheric pressure and temperature which introduces ice crystals into a cloud that has a combination of liquid and supercooled liquids. So, an aircraft flying through a cloud with these conditions can set off a domino effect and initiate this bizarre phenomena.

Image: crystallinks.com

Also known as sky punches, or hole punch clouds these natural events are beautiful and unusual, rare enough that they are often mistaken for UFOs.

Image: crystallinks.com

Image: crystallinks.com

Image: Beckachester

Via My Modern Met, Boing Boing

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